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May 2, 2013

Hawaii Governor Urged to Sign Animal-Protection Bills

Measures passed by the Legislature protect pets, equine animals

Update: On June 26, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the six animal protection bills into law. Learn more »

The Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed a number of animal protection bills to strengthen animal cruelty laws, help residents find rental housing that accepts pets, and make other improvements for animals in state policy. These bills now go to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his approval.

Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “The people of Hawaii urged their legislators to take action, and now we urge Governor Abercrombie to sign these important measures that will better protect Hawaii’s animals.”

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro said: “I am pleased that the Legislature passed these measures to protect animals. The Prosecuting Attorney’s office will continue to work toward establishing mandatory sentences in cases of multiple counts of animal cruelty and making sure that large-scale breeding operations are carefully regulated.”

The measures are:

  • SB 6 prohibits barbaric steel-jawed leghold traps and limits the use of snares and other body-crushing traps in residential areas where pets fall victim and often attempt to chew off their own limbs to escape such painful devices
  • SB 9 places a moratorium on a person convicted of felony animal cruelty from owning or possessing an animal for a minimum of five years
  • SB 978 upgrades misdemeanor cruelty offenses involving 10 or more animals to a felony
  • SB 328 allows pet owners and landlords to negotiate a deposit to allow pets to reside in the premises; SB 635 enhances penalties for the intentional abuse of a law enforcement dog or horse; and HB 235 clarifies that local humane societies are eligible for restitution when taking in animals forfeited in cruelty cases
  • The Legislature also unanimously passed a resolution asking retailers not to buy or sell illegal ivory in Hawaii. Hawaii is the nation’s third-largest ivory retailer. Illegal poaching for ivory is behind the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants worldwide

The HSUS thanks the leadership of bill sponsors Rep. Karl Rhoads, (D-29), Angus McKelvey, (D-10), Jessica Wooley, (D-48), Sen. Rosalyn Baker, (D-6), and Clayton Hee, (D-23), a four-year consecutive HSUS Humane Legislator Award recipient.

Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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