Kauai Humane Society heads to Legislature

HONOLULU — Kauai Humane Society is among the animal welfare advocates descending upon the Hawaii Capitol today for Humane Lobby Day at the Legislature.

“It’s an opportunity to come together and talk to the Legislature about the importance of animal welfare,” said Scott Pisani, executive director of KHS.

There are more than 20 bills currently flowing through the process relating to animal welfare. The bills cover topics such as aquarium fish, tether and confinement laws, feral cats, and service animals.

“So during Humane Lobby Day, there’s a speaker and some sessions and we have meetings with the legislators,” Pisani said. “It’s also a chance for all of the animal welfare groups to get together and organize.”

Pisani’s goal at today’s event is to represent Kauai’s interests and keep the conversation about animal welfare here at the “top of mind” for lawmakers, he said.

A measure that would establish a statewide cat and wildlife task force to come up with solutions for free-roaming cat populations and their impacts on wildlife is one that’s on Pisani’s radar.

Senate Bill 1262 outlines space for a Kauai representative on that task force.

It’s appropriate to have a coordinated effort statewide on the issue, Pisani said, because it will allow for more creative solutions.

“It’s a different solution for each island; it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Pisani said. “I think the key with this is to look at a variety of different tools.”

An animal forfeiture bill, House Bill 1516, is also of interest to KHS, as it would allow the entity to place animals in new homes at the beginning of an animal cruelty case instead of housing the animals at the facility.

“Under current law, as long as a case is not resolved, the humane society has to hold the animal,” Pisani said. “This bill is letting the animals move on unless the owner pays for lodging for the animal.”

Allowing seized animals to be rehomed also helps the organization with resource management.

“There’s also a licensing bill for dog breeders that I think some of the people on Kauai will have perspective on,” Pisani said.

The dog breeder licensing bill is HB 185 and it updates current breeding laws to include anyone who has 25 or more puppies from breeding female dogs in a one-year period.

Those without a dog breeder license that fall within the qualifications could get penalties of up to $1,000 and a misdemeanor.

“The hunting community would have an interest in that,” Pisani said.

While Humane Lobby Day only lasts for a few hours, animal welfare advocates hope to make a lasting impression on legislators.

“It’s a show of unity and force, (and) an opportunity to help us all organize,” Pisani said.

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