HONOLULU (KHON2) — Officials say Hawaii is one of only two states in the country that has no regulatory oversight over the pet service industry such as dog training, grooming, and boarding.
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In light of the recent death of dogs while under a trainer’s care, the Hawaiian Humane Society says regulations are overdue.
The Hawaiian Humane Society says it has been lobbying for years for state lawmakers to pass a law to regulate the pet services industry.
“Without any kind of regulatory regime, you don’t have accountability to make sure the animals are being treated properly,” said Stephanie Kendrick, director of community engagement at the Hawaiian Humane Society.
Dawn Goehring, who has been training dogs for 30 years says it only makes sense when we’re entrusting a beloved family member to someone’s care.
“There’s no industry standard, no code of ethics and no accountability, which I think is a dangerous thing to have when you’re dealing with a live animal,” she said.
Regulation comes to light as Whiskey and four other dogs died under a trainer’s care at Exceptional Obedience. The Humane Society says it has received more complaints about the facility since KHON2 aired the story on Tuesday. And that investigators went to the facility in Waianae but the owner wouldn’t allow them into the property.
Right now, if investigators with the Hawaiian Humane Society wanted to inspect the business that is suspected of any wrongdoing, they would need permission from the owner. But with regulations that could change.
“Part of the regulatory regime would include inspections, so we would be able to visit all of these businesses, trainers, boarding facilities, etc., on a regular basis,” said Kendrick.
Proponents say it could also establish a standard of care that would benefit all pet owners.
“We have living, breathing creatures we’re working with, and we owe it to them to make sure that what we’re doing and how we’re doing it is the most effective and the most humane, and takes that animal into consideration,” said Goehring.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection says it’s an issue he plans to look into at the next legislative session.
“We have had this problem before like with the puppy mill situation so if there are real problems in this community with abuse and people aren’t being able to see remedy, we should do something,” said Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole.
He adds that the state needs to figure out which agency will oversee the regulations.