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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 Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 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 the bill’s sponsors, Senator Clarence Nishihara and Senator Michelle Kidani, members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health, and their elected representatives in Honolulu, to comment on this bill.

Bill sponsor Senator Clarence Nishihara:
Senate District 17
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 214
phone: 808-586-6970
fax: 808-586-6879 

Bill sponsor Senator Michelle Kidani
Senate District 18
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 228
phone: 808-586-7100
fax: 808-586-7109 

Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health
Senator Rosalyn Baker (Chairman)
Senate District 6
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 230
phone: 808-586-6070
fax: 808-586-6071

Senator Stanley Chang (Vice Chair)
Senate District 9
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 226
phone: 808-586-8420
fax: 808-586-8426 

Senator Clarence K. Nishihara
Senate District 17
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 214
phone: 808-586-6970
fax: 808-586-6879  

Senator Kurt Fevella
Senate District 19
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 217
phone: 808-586-6360
fax: 808-586-6361

Senator Russell Ruderman
Senate District 2
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 216
phone: 808-586-6890
fax: 808-586-6899  

Senator Laura H. Thielen
Senate District 25
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 231
phone: 808-587-8388
fax: 808-587-7240  

Senator Glenn Wakai
Senate District 15
Hawaii State Capitol
Room 407
phone: 808-586-8585
fax: 808-586-8588  

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