Two dog-related bills of concern are scheduled to be considered by the Hawaii House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
- House Bill 849 seeks to limit consumer choice by requiring pet stores to sell dogs obtained only from animal control or a shelter/rescue.
- House Bill 1513 seeks to limit civil and criminal liability for individuals who remove unattended animals from motor vehicles that are in physical danger.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) encourages all Hawaii dog owners to contact the members of the House Agriculture and Food Safety Committee and express opposition to HB 849 and concerns with HB 1513 as introduced.
HOUSE BILL 849 – LIMITS ON CONSUMER CHOICE
Instead of addressing actual issues of cruelty or neglect, HB 849 seeks to limit consumers from having the opportunity to choose pets with specific characteristics and contractual or other health warranties offered by retail pet stores. Limiting the consumer choice is regressive because it harms prospective pet owners who do not have access to a specialized local breeder or the resources to travel to obtain a pet that is a good fit for their lifestyle. By removing the choice to obtain a puppy from regulated sources, HB 849 will also push future pet owners to the internet where sick puppies and scams are common. HB 849 also harms responsible pet breeders and retailers who are regulated under federal and state laws, while encouraging the sale of pets that come from unlicensed and unregulated sources that are not subject to the same standards.
AKC opposes House Bill 849. AKC believes that the most effective way to shut down irresponsible breeders, rescues, or pet sellers is to stop them from making money from the sale or transfer of unhealthy pets. Instead of a draconian limit on consumer choice, Hawaii would be better served by developing sound consumer protection laws for dog purchasers.
HOUSE BILL 1513 – DOGS IN VEHICLES
If enacted, HB 1513 would:
(1) Allow a person who observes an animal left unattended in a motor vehicle and determines the animal is physical danger to use whatever means that are reasonably necessary to protect the animal and remove it from the vehicle.
(2) Provide civil and criminal immunity if the person in good faith took reasonable action and (1) determined the motor vehicle was locked or there was no other reasonable manner for the animal to be removed from the vehicle; (2) believed forcible entry was necessary because the animal was in imminent physical danger of suffering harm if not immediately removed; (3) contacted emergency service before entering the vehicle or soon thereafter; (4) remained with the animal in a safe location out of the elements but reasonably close to the vehicle under an emergency responder arrives; (5) used no more force than necessary under the circumstances; and (6) immediately turned animal over to emergency responder.
AKC strongly believes that no dog should be left in a vehicle if its comfort, health, and safety is in question. “Good Samaritan” legislation must provide a balanced approach that protects both the health and safety of dogs and the interests of responsible dog owners.
AKC is concerned that HB 1513 could lead to unintended consequences that could actually harm animals and punish responsible owners, and should be amended to allow for recourse for an owner who did take proper steps to ensure their animal’s safety was protected (such as proper ventilation, air conditioning, blankets, or other protocols appropriate for the breed). Owners should also be exempt from liability for their dog harming someone as a result of breaking into the vehicle, which would be especially important if the animal flees the car and becomes at-large.
For more information on this issue, see our Dogs in Vehicles: Avoiding Unintended Consequences key issue page.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Hawaii residents are encouraged contact the members of the House Agriculture Committee, which will consider both HB 849 and HB 1513 tomorrow, February 15, 2023, and express opposition to HB 849 and concerns with HB 1513. Please use the points above as talking points in your communications with lawmakers.
Letters of opposition to HB 849 may be submitted by clicking “Submit Testimony” on HB 849’s bill page.
Letters of concern about HB 1513 may be submitted by clicking “Submit Testimony” on HB 1513’s bill page.
Individual committee members may be contacted as noted below. Note: * indicates bill sponsors.
Representative Cedrick Asuega Gates, Chair (Dist. 45 – Oahu: Wai‘anae, Mākaha)
Phone: 808-586-8460, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Kirstin Kahaloa, Vice Chair (Dist. 6 – Hawai’i Island: Hōnaunau, Nāpo‘opo‘o, Captain Cook, Kealakekua, Keauhou, Hōlualoa, Kailua-Kona)
Phone: 808-586-8530, email@example.com
Representative Elle Cochran (Dist. 14 – Maui: Kahakuloa, Waihe‘e, portions of Wai‘ehu and Mā‘alaea, Olowalu, Lahaina, Lahainaluna, Kā‘anapali, Māhinahina Camp, Kahana, Honokahua)
Phone: 808-586-6160, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Nicole E. Lowen (Dist. 7 – Hawai’i Island: Kailua-Kona, Honokohau, Kalaoa, Pu‘uanahulu, Puako, portion of Waikoloa)
Phone: 808-586-8400, email@example.com
Representative Amy A. Perruso (Dist. 46 – Oahu: Portion of Waipio Acres, Launani Valley, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Waialua, Mokuleia)
Phone: Phone: 808-586-6700, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Justin H. Woodson (Dist. 9 – Maui: Kahului, Pu‘unēnē, portion of Wailuku)
Phone: 808-586-6210, email@example.com
Representative Gene Ward (Dist. 18 – Oahu: Portlock, Hawaiʻi Kai, Kalama Valley)
Phone: 808-586-6420, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Contact AKC Government Relations at email@example.com.