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The American Kennel Club is concerned with Hawaii Senate Bill 2512.  The bill, which is scheduled to be considered by the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 2:00pm in House Conference Room 329, 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. The language in the bill is vague and fails to define which procedures may be defined as surgical.

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. 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. The AKC currently recognizes 20 breeds with cropped ears.


Concerned Hawaii dog owners are encouraged to contact members of the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and their elected representatives in Honolulu, to comment on this bill.

House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
Representative Roy Mitsuo Takumi (Chairman)
(808) 586-6170

Representative Linda E. Ichiyama (Vice-Chair)
(808) 586-6220

Representative Henry James C. Aquino
(808) 586-6520

Representative Della Au Belatti
(808) 586-9425

Representative Rida T.R. Cabanilla Arakawa
(808) 586-6080

Representative Romeo Munoz Cachola
(808) 586-6010

Representative Sharon E. Har
(808) 586-8500

Representative Samuel Satoru Kong
(808) 586-8455

Representative John M. Mizuno
(808) 586-6050

Representative Richard Hiroyuki Keala Onishi
(808) 586-6120

Rep. Lauren Nicole Kealohilani Cheape Matsumoto
(808) 586-9490

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.
To read AKC’s post on companion bill HB 2163, 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