Hawaii Senate Bill 612 seeks to require that sellers or providers of emotional support animals (ESAs), and sellers or providers of certificates, identifications, tags, vests, leashes, and harnesses for ESAs, provide a disclaimer that an ESA is not a service animal under state law. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is concerned that SB 612 uses the term “rights” when describing animals. We urge you to SB 612’s sponsors and the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee to request the amendments below be made to the bill.
AT ISSUE: USE OF “RIGHTS” LANGUAGE
The American Kennel Club (AKC) shares SB 612’s recognition that service animals are specifically task trained while emotional support animals are not. However, AKC is deeply concerned with the use of the term “rights” and similar language to describe the relationship of animals and the law, as included in SB 612. Click here to learn more. AKC supports the continued traditional classification and description of animals as property under the law, which helps assure the rights and responsibilities of dog owners, and requests the following amendments.
RECOMMENDED AMENDMENT 1:
As introduced, section (a) of SB 612 would require any person or business that sells or provides an animal for use as an emotional support animal to provide written notice to the buyer/recipient that:
(1) The animal does not have special training required to qualify as a service animal.
(2) The animal is not entitled to the rights and privileges accorded by law to a service animal.
(3) It is a violation to knowingly misrepresent any animal as a service animal that does not meet the state’s definition.
AKC recommends the italicized language in (a)(2) above be amended to read, “(2) The user of an emotional support animal is not entitled to the privileges accorded by law to the user of a service animal.”
RECOMMENDED AMENDMENT 2:
Similarly, section (b) of SB 612 would require any person or business that sells or provides a certificate, identification, tag, vest, leash, or harness for an emotional support animal to provide written notice to the buyer/recipient that:
(1) The item does not entitle an emotional support animal to the rights and privileges accorded by law to a service animal; and
(2) It is a violation to knowingly misrepresent any animal as a service animal that does not meet the state’s definition.
AKC recommends the italicized language in (b)(1) above be amended to read, “(1) The item does not entitle the user of an emotional support animal to the privileges accorded by law to the user of a of a service animal.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Hawaii residents are encouraged to contact SB 612’s sponsors, State Senators Karl Rhoads and Joy A. San Buenoventura, and the members of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, which will consider the bill in a February 3, 2023, committee hearing, to request SB 612 be amended as above. Please use the points above as talking points in your communications with lawmakers.
SB 612 Sponsors:
State Senator Karl Rhoads (Dist. 13 – Part of Oahu: Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Pālama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown)
State Senator Joy A. San Buenaventura (Dist. 2 – Part of the Island of Hawai’i: Puna)
Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee:
Letters to the entire committee may be submitted by clicking “Submit Testimony” on SB612’s bill page. Individual committee members may be contacted as noted below.
State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, Chair (Dist. 24 – Part of Oahu: Kāne‘ohe, Kailua)
State Senator Carol Fukunaga, Vicke Chair (Dist. 11 – Part of Oahu: Mānoa, Makiki/Punchbowl, Tantalus and Papakōlea)
State Senator Angus L.K. McKelvey (Dist. 6 – Part of Maui: West Maui, Mā‘alaea, Waikapū, South Maui)
State Senator Herbert M. “Tim” Richards, III (Dist. 4 – Part of Island of Hawai’i: North Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kona)
State Senator Brenton Awa (Dist. 23 – Part of Oahu: Kāne‘ohe, Kahalu‘u thru Lā‘ie, Kahuku to Mokulē‘ia, Schofield Barracks, Kunia Camp)
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide updates on SB 612 and other Hawai’i legislation as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.