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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

This bill has been removed from the February 5 agenda and AKC Government Relations will update when developments warrant.

Monday, February 3, 2020

The American Kennel Club is concerned with Hawaii House Bill 2163.  The bill, introduced by Representative Roy Mitsuo Takumi, seeks to limit the practices of surgical births, debarking, tail docking, and ear cropping by prohibiting an animal’s owner, and the owner’s employees, from performing these procedures.

Surgical births and debarking should only be performed by a qualified, licensed veterinarian.  Debarking is a viable veterinary procedure that may allow a dog owner to keep a dog that barks excessively in its loving home rather than to be forced to surrender it to a shelter.  After other behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive barking have failed, the decision to debark a dog is best left to individual owners and their veterinarians.

Breed standards are established and maintained by AKC parent clubs whose primary purpose is to protect the welfare of their breed and the function it was bred to perform. The American Kennel Club opposes attempts by lawmakers to fundamentally change breed standards by way of limiting acceptable practices of animal husbandry that are provided with appropriate veterinary care.

The American Kennel Club recognizes that ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, as described in certain breed standards, are acceptable practices integral to defining and preserving breed character and/or enhancing good health.  Appropriate veterinary care should be provided.

Tail docking refers to the removal of a portion of the tail, usually either by placement of a ligature or surgically. The length that is docked varies depending on the breed. Currently 62 breeds recognized by the AKC have docked tails, including Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers, and Yorkshire Terriers. Some dogs, such as Old English Sheepdogs and Australian Shepherds may appear to be docked, but may have actually been born with a “bobtail”, or naturally short tail.  Tail docking is performed shortly after birth, when the puppy’s nervous system is not fully developed. As a result, the puppy feels little to no pain, and there are no lasting negative health issues.

Ear cropping is a procedure by which a dog’s ears are trimmed, or “cropped”, so that they can stand erect rather than flop over. Common examples of dogs with cropped ears are Boston Terriers, Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers. The AKC currently recognizes 20 breeds with cropped ears.


Concerned Hawaii dog owners are encouraged to contact the bill’s sponsor, Representative Roy Mitsuo Takumi, members of the House Agriculture Committee, and their elected representatives in Honolulu to comment on this bill.
Bill sponsor Representative Roy Mitsuo Takumi:
House District 35
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 320
phone: 808-586-6170
fax: 808-586-6171

House Committee on Agriculture
Representative Richard P. Creagan (Chairman)
House District 5
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 427
phone: 808-586-9605
fax: 808-586-9608 

Representative Lynn DeCoite (Vice Chair)
House District 13
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 441
phone: 808-586-6790
fax: 808-586-6779 

Representative Rida Cabanilla Arakawa
House District 41
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 317
phone: 808-586-6080
fax: 808-586-6081 

Representative Romy M. Cachola
House District 30
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 406
phone: 808-586-6010
fax: 808-586-6011 

Representative Daniel Holt
House District 29
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 333
phone: 808-586-6180
fax: 808-586-6189 

Representative Richard H.K. Onishi
House District 3
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 404
phone: 808-586-6120
fax: 808-586-6121

Representative Amy A. Perruso
House District 46
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 303
phone: 808-586-6700
fax: 808-586-6702

Representative Cynthia Thielen
House District 50
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 443
phone: 808-586-6480
fax: 808-586-6481

To find your Hawaii State Representative, click here and enter your address in the box on the top right of the page.

For a copy of the full legislation, please click here.
For more information on these procedures, click here.
For tips on how to effectively communicate with legislators, please click here.

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or, or AKC’s Hawaii federation, the Pacific Pet Alliance at