Organization ranks Hawaii among ‘Top states to be an... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Organization ranks Hawaii among ‘Top states to be an animal abuser'

Stephan Otto Stephan Otto
Kawehi Yim Kawehi Yim

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - You may love your pets, but our law makers could do a lot more to protect animals from people who aren't so loving. So says the Animal Legal Defense Fund which ranks Hawaii 48th in the nation for its animal protection laws.

The Animal Defense Fund used specific criteria to rank all 50 states including what is outlawed in each state, and what the penalties are for breaking animal laws. It concluded only Kentucky and North Dakota have weaker animal protection than Hawaii

The man who wrote the report says it is not an indictment of the way most people in Hawaii treat animals.

"I think it's a case of where the laws really haven't caught up with society's values" said Stephan Otto of the Animal Defense Fund.

Otto cites examples of what he calls Hawaii's lax laws.

"There isn't any state law right now against animal abandonment in Hawaii. You have a felony cruelty law, but it applies only to dogs, cats, and equines and certain types of cruelty. There is no requirement for mental health counseling or evaluations for offenders and we know that this is a huge component for many of these criminals, especially those who hoard or neglect animals."

It's not good news.

Kawehi Yim of the Hawaiian Humane Society says she's appalled by some of the things our laws allow people to do. For example there's no law against attending a cock fight or dog fight just against taking an animal into the ring.

"So when a raid occurs, whether it's at a derby or its at a dog fighting ring, the only people who could be arrested for animal cruelty are those people that are located in the ring with their chickens, with their game cocks" said Yim.

All of the others, as far as animal cruelty is concerned ... spectators are not included.

Yim says lawmakers have refused to outlaw gaffs used in cock fights, but the Humane Society will make another push to ban them during the upcoming legislative session and it will ask that fines for animal cruelty be increased.

"Because if we can make is such that it's going to hurt their pockets, hopefully that will deter them from engaging in that activity in the first place."

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