HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tuesday night’s report on the dogs that died in a shipping container while under a trainer’s care struck a nerve with lots of dog owners. We’ve learned that there’s no regulatory oversight for the industry that provides pet services like training, grooming, and boarding. So it’s up to the community to report problems.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
The Hawaiian Humane Society points out that just about anyone can start a business providing services for pets like training and grooming. And there are no standards that they have to follow. So pet owners need to vet these providers as much as possible.
“Do your due diligence, look up, research, see if you can find reviews online. See if you can really get a grasp on the level of care that they’re providing because you’re entrusting your pet into their care,” said Brandy Shimabukuro, manager of communications at the Hawaiian Humane Society.
Long time dog trainer Wendy Mah points out it’s also important to ask the prospective trainer all the right questions.
“They need to ask questions like where will my dog be living? How many hours of the day will you be training my dog? What kind of methods will you be using?” said Mah of Sirius Puppy Training.
KHON2’s story on Whiskey, the two-year-old German Shepherd, who died while under the trainer’s care, prompted a lot of calls to the humane society. Shimabukuro encourages the community to file what’s known as a Citizen Complaint Form if they see similar incidents. And that will start an investigation.
“They’ll send out a humane investigator into the community to do a wellness check on an animal that might be on property or looking at the conditions of what the case might be, collect the evidence and then submit that to the prosecutor’s office to see if they want to pursue the case,” said Shimabukuro.
There are times when the business doesn’t allow the investigators to enter the property. That’s when HPD is called to help.
“If we actually have evidence of some type of malfeasance of wrongdoing, if there’s actual conditions on site that’s visible from the public right of way, that would enable our team to go in with the Honolulu Police Department as backup,” said Shimabukuro.
She adds that it’s also important to document as much evidence as you can.
“Photos, video, submit it to us. That’s all part of the package that’s submitted to the prosecutor’s office, so get as much as you can based on facts, based on what’s actually happening,” she said.
If no criminal charges are filed, there’s also the possibility for the pet owner to file a civil lawsuit.