Monday, June 26, 2006

Hawaii Makes Major Steps and Signs into Law Two Laws to Help Abused Companion Animals

Yes, they’re not as strong as most would like to see, but they lead in the right direction. Please read on to learn more.


2 animal rights laws signed on pet holiday

By Leila Fujimori

Gov. Linda Lingle signed two animal rights bills into law yesterday during Take Your Pet to Work Day.

Act 239 (Senate Bill 2924, Conference Draft 1) allows a law enforcement officer with a search warrant to enter property where an animal is believed to be abused or neglected to allow the animal to be provided with food, water and emergency medical care.

The court also can seize the animal and place it in a recognized shelter or organization to ensure it receives proper care.

The new law also provides for a hearing process that allows an animal cruelty prevention organization to ask the court for the forfeiture of the animal before any criminal conviction of its owner.

The owner can avoid forfeiture of the animal by posting a security bond (for the animal's care) or by showing the court that alternative care for the animal has been made.

Act 238 (SB 2930, House Draft 1) aims to reimburse organizations charged with caring for impounded animals.

Under the law, if an owner were ordered to surrender an animal to a care facility, the court could allow the caregiver to seek reimbursement from the owner for reasonable costs to care, feed and house the animal.

In one case, the Hawaiian Humane Society incurred several hundred thousand dollars' worth of costs to care for 69 abused animals but was never reimbursed. The owner was later allowed to sell the dogs.

"For many people our pets are beloved members of our families," said the governor, who owns two cats: a stray she found in Hilo and another adopted from the humane society.

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