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The Hawaii House of Representative’s Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider dog-related proposals on Thursday, February 23, both of which the American Kennel Club (AKC) is concerned with.  The AKC encourages all concerned Hawaii residents to contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and express their concerns. 


•    House Bill 185 – HB 185 seeks to create new licensing and oversight laws for certain dog breeders/owners.  Specifically, the bill would apply to “dog breeders”, which include those who (1) for compensation or provide, sells or offers for sale, via any means including the internet, 25 or more of the offspring of breeding female dogs in any one-year period and is engaged in the business of breeding intact female dogs; (2) owns/harbors 20 or more intact female dogs over six months of age intended for breeding; or (3) owns/harbors 30 intact dogs over six months of age intended for breeding on the premises.  

Those dog breeders who are qualified would have to be licensed by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, which would include submitting a completed license application, a fee, and a pre-license inspection of facilities.  Licensees would be subject to inspections at any time during regular business hours.  The Director of Commerce shall adopt rules to administer the program.  The bill also provides the director with extensive enforcement powers.  In addition to current penalties, HB 185 also provides that violators of the state’s first or second degree animal cruelty statutes will be subject to prohibitions of animal ownership or contact for at least five years, including those who should be licensed as dog breeders but are not.  

The AKC has many concerns with HB 185.  First, the term “dog breeders” sounds all-encompassing, but actually only applies to subset of dog breeders.  We encourage changing the term to “large-scale dog breeders” to more accurately reflect the intentions and provisions of the legislation.  Second, the extensive enforcement powers offered the Director of Commerce and Consumers Affairs may run counter to Procedural Due Process requirements.  We encourage amendments to reasonably limit the enforcement powers provided that ensure that licensees’ due process rights are not infringed upon.  

•    House Bill 1516 – HB 1516 seeks to vastly expand the cases in which a humane society may petition a court for forfeiture of an animal.  

Current law provides that in criminal cases, a humane society or SPCA holding an impounded animal may file a petition to the court requesting the court issue an order of forfeiture of the pet.  The court must conduct a hearing within 14 days, and if it determines that if probable cause exists that that the defendant cruelly treated the animal, the court shall order the forfeiture of ownership of the animal.  Defendants may preserve their ownership rights through the pendency of the criminal case against them by posting a security bond or if they demonstrate that a proper care alternative has been arranged for the pet.  Further the court may waive the requirement a defendant post security for good cause shown.  These provisions are generally considered to protect a defendant’s due process rights and ensure that a defendant is not erroneously deprived of their ownership rights.  

HB 1516 would remove the requirement that cases be criminal in nature, and would remove the procedural protections currently provided defendants.  For these reasons, the AKC opposes HB 1516 as introduced. 

Any Hawaii residents concerned with the provisions of these bills should contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and express their concerns.  Click here to view the committee’s agenda. 

Representative Scott Y. Nishimoto, Chair (Dist. 21 – Kapahulu, McCully, Moiliili)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 421
PHONE: 818-586-8515

Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura, Vice Chair (Dist. 4 – Puna)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 302
PHONE: 818-586-6530

Representative Della Au Belatti (Dist. 24 – Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 402
PHONE: 818-586-9425

Representative Tom Brower (Dist. 22 – Waikiki, Ala Moana)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 315
PHONE: 818-586-8520

Representative Aaron Ling Johnson (Dist. 31 – Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 426
PHONE: 818-586-9470

Representative Chris Lee (Dist. 51 – Kailua, Waimanalo)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 436
PHONE: 818-586-9450

Representative Dee Morikawa (Dist. 16 – Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 442
PHONE: 818-586-6280

Representative Mark N. Nakashima (Dist. 1 – Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 406
PHONE: 818-586-6680

Representative Marcus R. Oshiro (Dist. 46 – Wahiawa, Whitmore Village)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 424
PHONE: 818-586-6700

Representative Bob McDermott (Dist. 40 – Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Iroquois Point)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 330
PHONE: 818-586-9730

Representative Cynthia Thielen, Assistant Minority Leader (Dist. 50 – Kailua, Kaneohe Bay)
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 443
PHONE: 808-586-6480

For those interested in attending Thursday’s hearing, it will be held at 2PM, in Conference Room 325 at the State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, HI 96813. 

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at; or our Hawaii federation, the Pacific Pet Alliance, at