Ask HPD: When do dogs have to be on a leash?

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Sharie Souza of the Honolulu Police Department Criminal Investigation Division will answer this week’s questions from a viewer.

Question: When do dogs have to be on a leash and can I bring my dogs to the park and let them roam freely?

Answer: The law requires anyone handling a dog on a public street, school grounds, or other public places to have the dog on a leash.

This also applies if you are on private property without the owner’s consent.  The leash must not be longer than eight feet, with some exceptions, such as service dogs and police dogs.  It’s a $50 fine for the first offense and up to a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail for subsequent offenses.

And while dogs are not allowed in most public parks, there are some public parks where dogs on leashes are allowed, and some parks where dogs may be off leash.  Check the posted signs at a park to see if dogs are allowed.


Sec. 7-4.1 Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicates:

“Animal control contractor” means the duly incorporated humane society or organization formed for the prevention of cruelty to animals which is contracted by the city to perform animal control services.

“Handler” means any owner with a disability having custody of a service dog.

“Off-leash park” means a public park designated by the director of parks and recreation where dogs, and no other animal, shall be allowed to be off-leash.

“Owner” means and includes every person owning, harboring or keeping a dog or having custody thereof.

“Service dog” means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by the service dog must be directly related to the handler’s disability.

“Stray” or “stray dog” means any dog: (1) on the premises of a person other than the owner of the dog, without the consent of an occupant of such premises; or (2) on a public street, on public or private school grounds, or in any other public place, except when under the control of the owner by leash, cord, chain or other similar means of physical restraint; provided, that such leash, cord, chain or other means is not more than eight feet in length; and provided further, that this provision shall not be construed to permit that which is prohibited by any other law.

(Sec. 13-23.1, R.O. 1978 (1983 Ed.); Am. Ord. 00-68, 01-43, 11-1)

Sec. 7-4.9 Violation–Penalty.
(a) The owner of a dog which has become a stray or any other person convicted of a violation of this article shall be punished for the offense as follows:
(1) A fine of $50 if the offense did not occur within two years of the occurrence of a previous offense under this article;
(2) A fine of $100 if the offense occurred within two years of the occurrence of one previous offense under this article; or
(3) A fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000, imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both, if the offense occurred within two years of the occurrence of two or more previous offenses under this article or if the person convicted has a previous conviction under Section 7-7.2 involving the same dog.
(b) For the purpose of this section:
(1) An offense shall be deemed to have occurred on the date of the summons or citation identifying the offense; and
(2) A person who commits an offense within two years of the occurrence of a previous offense shall be subject to the escalating fine of subsection (a), even if the dogs involved in the offenses differed.
(Sec. 13-23.9, R.O. 1978 (1983 Ed.); Am. Ord. 00-68, 05-007)

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