Lawmakers endorse puppy mill law and regulations - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Lawmakers endorse puppy mill law and regulations

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Theresa Donnelly Theresa Donnelly

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The large scale dog breeding law is gaining support at the state capitol but some say the regulations go too far.  Changes are being made to the bill but its intent is to stop future puppy mill cases like the one discovered in Waimanalo where 153 dogs were seized for animal cruelty charges.

An estimated 43 percent of Hawaii households own a dog.  The proposed dog breeding law would not apply to the overwhelming majority of those homes.  It would impact those that have ten or more dogs over a year old that are capable of breeding.

It also says an owner cannot have more than 30 breeding dogs.  Puppies under a year old are not included in that count.

The rules would require regular exercise, adequate shelters, a microchip and annual veterinary care for all dogs.

"Time and again we have seen people with large numbers of animals that's when they see declines in conditions, and welfare and health of the animals," said Inga Gibson, The Humane Society of the United States. "There is no question there is a desperate need for these basic regulations, these basic standards of care, that people are selling these animals often time putting profit over welfare."

Theresa Donnelly is in favor of the bill.  She has stud her pure bred boxer and says regulation is needed.

"I also feel that responsible breeders can be the biggest advocate to help stomp out puppy mills and any irresponsible people breeding animals in bad conditions, what we call backyard breeders," said Theresa Donnelly.  "I am not in any way worried for our responsible breeders and it is unfortunate that some do oppose this bill because at the end of the day this is about protecting animals."

Not everyone supports the idea of regulations. The American Kennel Club and Hawaiian Kennel Club both oppose the bill.

Opponents did not testify in person but they did write letters to lawmakers.

"This bill penalizes good breeders and will only encourage uneducated 'backyard breeding' as they will not have to suffer these regulations," said Debi Cary, Castlecary Labradors.

"This is another bill from Mr. Hee that punishes all of us for the bad behavior of a few," wrote Robyn Thomson.

"Maybe we should neuter and microchip our elected officials so we can track their stupidity and waste our time," wrote Linda Hunt.

"The concerns are misplaced and not focused on the bill, so we had a long discussion about focusing on the bill," said State Senator Clayton Hee, (D) Judiciary Committee Chair who introduced the bill.  "If this bill doesn't become law than lawmakers haven't done their job."

Changes are already being made.  Originally the bill called for dogs over six months of age to be included in the overall limit.  Now it's dogs over one year old to be included in the count.

The bill will go to a vote on the Senate floor next week.  If it passes it will then go to the House to consider.

To review the status of the SB2492 and read the text and testimony click here.

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