Bill aims to slap those who abandon their pets with stiffer fines

Local News

Animal shelters here in Hawaii are often full beyond capacity, with abused and abandoned animals rescued from terrible situations, but a new proposed law hopes to create stiffer penalties for pet owners could change that.

Lawmakers are hoping to change the law by raising the penalty for animal abandonment, calling it a step in the right direction.

According to lawmakers, abandoned pets roaming the state number in the thousands.

Hawaii law currently slaps owners with a $50 fine for deserting pets, but that could soon change.

“These animals are used to having a nice life, used to getting loved, and all of a sudden they’re out there. It’s terrifying and stressful,” said Mary Steiner with the Hawaiian Humane Society.

The Humane Society, along with other agencies, are working together to raise the fine to $1,000 for each abandoned animal.

The shelter argues increasing the penalties can discourage pet abandonment.

The Humane Society adds that it never gets easier when it learns of another pet stranded, on the side of the road.

“They’re dumped at the park, school, sometimes with cats, at other colonies. sometimes they’re tied up on the side of the road, if they’re a dog,” Steiner said.

And it’s not just cats and dogs, the Humane Society says horses have a history of being abandoned in Hawaii.

“It’s an issue on an open land and people leave their animals, and it’s terrible,” Steiner added.

The Humane Society hopes by stiffening penalties, pet owners will work with local shelters to re-home their pets.

“It’s completely inhumane to abandon an animal. It’s better to take one to a shelter and know that animal is going to be safe,” Steiner advises.

The Humane Society says it’s had several cases of animal abandonment this year so far, one involving a dog, three involving cats.

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