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May 4, 2012

Legislature Adjourns with Numerous Bills Passed for Hawaii’s Animals

Measures passed include protections for pets, farm animals and marine and terrestrial wildlife; Governor Abercrombie encouraged to sign bills into law

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, on behalf of its more than 50,000 members and supporters across Hawaii, thanks the State Legislature for its support in passing a number of animal protection bills this legislative session, and urges Gov. Abercrombie to sign the bills into law. Such measures include:

•    SB2486 (Sen. Michelle Kidani, D- Moanalua, 'Aiea, Fort Shafter, Kalihi Valley, Halawa Valley) to extend protections to pets and farm animals who are often the victims in domestic violence cases involving abuse and threats of physical harm or death.
•    HB2296 (Rep. Wooley, D-Laie, Hauula, Punaluu, Kahana, Kaaawa, Waikane, Kahaluu, Ahuimanu, Kaneohe) to prohibit the sale of products containing  bear bile, gallbladders or other bear parts, which have been found for sale in Honolulu. The bear part trade is cruel, unnecessary and leads to the poaching of  bear populations around the world.
•    SB3001 (Sen. Kahele, D-Ka'u, Puna, Hilo) to explicitly prohibit the cruel smuggling and abandonment of wild deer into areas where both the deer and the environment may suffer. It’s believed that those smuggling deer across Hawaii may be attempting to create new populations to develop future captive sport-hunting operations where animals are kept in enclosures for guaranteed hunts.

Lawmakers defeated Resolutions that attempted to weaken protections for Hawaii’s critically endangered monk seals and Green sea turtles. Four monk seals have been illegally killed in the past six months. In January, The HSUS and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources announced a joint tipline (1-855-DLNR-TIP) and reward that now stands at $40,000 or $10,000 per incident, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s).

The legislature earlier approved SB2503 (Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kahuku, La'ie, Ka'a'awa, Kane'ohe ) which strengthens and expedites the forfeiture process to include offspring and equines in the custody of local humane societies pending cruelty case investigations. Criminal cruelty cases can sometimes take years to resolve and the animals are often left in limbo, unable to be adopted into loving homes. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law on April 17.

“We commend the sponsors of these important measures for their efforts to better protect Hawaii’s animals, recognizing that animal issues are community issues. We especially thank the House and Senate Judiciary Chairmen, Rep Gil Keith-Agaran, D-Kahului, Wailuku, Puunene, Spreckelsville, Paia and Sen. Clayton Hee, for their support and leadership on these and other animal protection issues,” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The HSUS.

Unfortunately, bills that would have allowed Hawaii to join 36 other states which provide standards of care for large-scale commercial dog breeders and pet stores that sell animals to the public missed deadlines and failed this session. Hawaii remains 43rd in the nation with one of the weakest anti-puppy mill laws and continues to have no laws that protect consumers who may purchase sick or dying animals from pet stores or irresponsible breeders.

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Media Contacts:  Heather Sullivan, 301.548.7778, hsullivan@humanesociety.org

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