Hawaii lawmakers introduce 2 bills targeted at dog-tethering

HONOLULU — A pair of animal cruelty bills were introduced in Hawaii that could make it illegal to improperly chain dogs, legislators said.

The House and Senate bills would add tethering dogs in overly restrictive ways to the list of second-degree animal cruelty offenses, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

New offenses listed in the bills would prohibit the use of trolleys, pulleys or other systems to tie a dog to two stationary objects that prevent the dog from eating or drinking, officials said. The bills would also prohibit the use of heavy chains that restrict movement.

If passed, the bills would also ban dogs under 6 months old from being tied or restrained at all unless under direct supervision, state legislators said.

Currently, people are prohibited from tethering dogs to stationary objects with devices that cause discomfort or pain if the animal pulls against the restraint, such as choke, pinch or prong collars, legislators said.

“This bill is pretty much for those owners that keep their dogs outdoors,” said Democratic state Sen. Lorraine Inouye, co-introducer of the Senate bill. “That still is cruelty to animals … and I don’t think they’re true dog lovers.”

Some dog owners say the bill is unfairly severe.

Legislators have argued the bills do not intend to make all tethering illegal, and “acknowledges that it is possible for individuals to humanely tether or restrain dogs.”

Mary Rose Krijgsman, founder of the Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kurtistown, said that not only can improper restraints injure dogs, they can condition animals to become more aggressive.

“What happens is the dog feels insecure, and because it doesn’t have enough freedom, it can become more aggressive,” Krijgsman said. “People do it because it’s the most simple option. Building a fence is hard.”


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