By MARINA STARLEAF RIKER
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii has a growing feral cat population that wildlife officials say are threatening the state's wildlife.
Thousands of cats and dogs are abandoned across the islands each year. In response, lawmakers in the House passed a bill Tuesday to crack down on animal abandonment. The bill would make animal desertion a petty misdemeanor punishable with fines up to $2,000 if an animal suffers death or substantial bodily injury.
The Humane Society of the United States says Hawaii's current law is one of the weakest in the nation. Right now, people in Hawaii who dump their unwanted pets face a petty misdemeanor with a $50 fine.
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural resources says nearly 28 percent of all threatened and endangered species in the U.S. are in Hawaii.