No puppy breeders in Hawaii are permitted to sell to pet stores

Keoni Vaughn, Hawaiian Humane Society
Keoni Vaughn, Hawaiian Humane Society
Senator Clayton Hee
Senator Clayton Hee

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

We've discovered a major lapse in regulation among Hawaii's dog breeding industry.  Something lawmakers want to change.  The undercover video we aired this week helped show some of the conditions at puppy farms.  Now the response is exposing more problems within the breeding industry.

"Since you folks aired the stories my office has been flooded with phone calls and emails," said Keoni Vaughn, Hawaiian Humane Society Chief Inspector.

Those contacts are not only upset about seeing injured and sick animals, but they've also revealed plenty of new information.  For the first time a local pet store owner says she's willing to hand over the names of all the breeders she's used.  It's a list with as many as 90 names.  That's many more than the Hawaiian Humane Society knew about.  So how many breeders are out there?

"I have no idea but I'm very concerned. Many more than I probably expected," said Vaughn.

Here's why it's so staggering to hear one pet store alone used 90 breeders.  By law if a breeder sells puppies to a pet store they must have a federal permit.  However right now not even one breeder in the state has that permit, which means there are plenty of breeders out there flying under the radar without abiding by any rules.

"It was quite a shocker," said Vaughn.  "It clearly says there is no regulation at this point and there's no enforcement at this point."

"It's been overwhelming," said State Senator Clayton Hee, (D) Kahuku, Laie, Kaneohe.

Senator Hee has also been contacted by a lot of people concerned about Hawaii's weak animal laws.  He's already met with the Hawaiian Humane Society going over what should go into a new law.

"I think one of the most important aspects, we'll look at pet shops disclosing the source of the puppies," said Sen. Hee.

They're talking about capping the number of animals in a kennel, limiting how many times a female can get pregnant in a year, requiring exercise and giving inspectors power to make unannounced visits.  Right now they have to get permission to even come on the property and if the breeder says no they can't look around.

"So we'll look at loosening that up," said Sen. Hee.  "It will take a multi pronged approach but I believe the will is there and obviously if the will is there we'll find a way."

Senator Hee plans to make it a priority next session but until they get a grasp on how bad the problem is the Hawaiian Humane Society doesn't want to support breeders or pet stores and encourages people to...

"Adopt and not shop," said Vaughn.

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