HONOLULU (KHON2) — Under a new City Council proposal, pet owners would be required to microchip their dogs and cats. The bill was introduced by council member Ann Kobayashi.
“We just want all animal owners to be responsible for their animals, and we want to help them too if the dog or cat runs away or is stolen, we can use the scanner to identify animals,” said Kobayashi.
“Eliminating the license as a requirement, which already had low participation, and making a microchip a requirement, really changes the game,” said Daniel Roselle, Hawaiian Humane Society Director of Community Relations.
Previously dog owners had to license their pets, which cost about $10. A microchip would be required under the bill to show proof of ownership. This could cost $20 or less, depending on the veterinarian or clinic.
Roselle said micro-chips make it much quicker for people to be reunited with their animals.
“There are times when our field agents find a stray pet, are able to [scan the microchip], call the owner and return the animal to them before they even bring it into the shelter,” said Roselle.
Another thing that may be changing is the fee residents may pay if their pet is found and sheltered at the Hawaiian Humane Society. It’s currently $2.50 a day, but that could change to $10 a day.
“The 10 dollar fee – one helps us pay for the care of the animal, but it also really incentivizes people to not delay at all,” said Roselle.
The proposal would also decrease the number of days people will be able to claim the pet, once it’s impounded, from nine days down to five.
“The baseline ideal for animals that are lost or are a stray to be with their ohana, to be with a person they know and care about it, and it’s not to sit in a shelter waiting,” said Roselle. “The longer they’re in the shelter, there’s more risk of behavior problems developing. There’s more risk of illness, especially the kittens, there’s more risk of them getting stressed out.”
Finally, if a pet has been brought in to the Hawaiian Humane Society three times within a year, it will also be spayed and neutered, and owners may have to pay a $30 penalty fee to cover the costs.
If this remains unpaid or if the owners don’t contact the HHS or come to pick up their pet within the time frame, the pets may be put up for adoption.
“Letting your pet roam around the city with traffic, with heat, with strangers, is in no way a good outcome for the animal,” said Roselle. “While we cant sit there and make sure that animal is secured, we along with those on the city council will help create laws to help incentivize that.”
To view the full bill, you can visit the Honolulu City Council website.