2021 Advocacy Initiatives

The Hawaiian Humane Society regularly engages in efforts to improve our state and local animal laws. Current efforts include:

HB1085 / SB343 Sexual Assault of an Animal


This bill amends the Penal Code to establish the crime of sexual assault of an animal. It further provides that the sexual assault of an animal is a class C felony or a class B felony if the offense subjects a minor to sexual contact with an animal or is committed in the presence of a minor. It has Hawaiian Humane’s strong support.

There are few crimes more inherently horrific than sexual assault. Sexual violence against a helpless, uncomprehending animal is a depraved breach of trust. In fact, studies have found people who are willing to commit such unspeakable acts also pose a threat to vulnerable human beings.

Hawaiʻi is one of just four states that do not expressly prohibit bestiality.

While animal sexual abuse is rarely reported to local law enforcement, that is likely because it is not against the law. There is ample evidence that this kind of abuse occurs in Hawaiʻi. Online bestiality forums have posts from members in every county in the state boasting of the lack of a law against animal sexual abuse and offering, as well as seeking, animals for sex.

Learn more.     

HB1086 / SB609 Veterinary Good Samaritan/Mandatory Reporting


This measure being championed by the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association protects veterinarians from civil liability for rendering emergency aid to an animal, even if an owner is not available to consent to care, as long as their actions were taken in good faith and do not constitute gross negligence. It also requires veterinarians to report suspected animal cruelty and protects them from civil liability for making such reports. It has Hawaiian Humane’s strong support.

Veterinarians should not have to risk their livelihoods to help animals in need. This bill will allow veterinarians to use their skills and expertise to render emergency aid to animals without the fear of civil liability.

Veterinarians should not have to fear retaliation for reporting suspected animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is an underreported crime and compelling veterinarians to report suspected abuse in return for protection from civil liability will give law enforcement expert eyes and ears on the frontlines of animal care.

This bill will help to protect our entire community. Ample research stretching back decades has established links between violence against animals and the abuse of people – especially children, domestic partners and seniors.

HB1087 / SB545 Dog Tethering


This bill prohibits specified trolleys, pulleys, cables, or running lines designed to attach a dog to two stationary objects in a configuration that endangers the dog, including by depriving the dog of sustenance. It also prohibits the unsupervised tethering of a dog under the age of six months. It has Hawaiian Humane’s strong support.

This gives dog owners the flexibility they need to keep their animals secure, protects the community from unsecured dogs and ensures that dogs who are tethered are confined in ways that are safe and allow them adequate shelter, sustenance and freedom of movement.

The provisions are meaningful and enforceable.


HB538 / SB346 Relating to Farm Animals


This bill Requires farm owner or operators to confine egg-laying hens in accordance with the standards established in this measure. Effective 12/31/25, prohibits a business owner or operator from selling shell eggs or egg products that are produced by egg-laying hens that were confined in a cruel manner. It has Hawaiian Humane’s support.

Hawaiian Humane supports the enforcement and strengthening of current laws and the implementation of humane standards for animals in every phase of animal-based food production. Hawaiian Humane opposes factory farming or any other practice that results in animals being viewed as and treated as machines. The provisions of this bill represent reasonable progress in protecting egg-laying hens from cruel forms of confinement.


HB1088 / SB345 Relating to Cosmetics


This bill bans the import for profit, sale, and offer for sale of any cosmetic in the state if the final product or any component of the final product was developed or manufactured using animal testing performed on or after 1/1/2022. It has Hawaiian Humane’s support.

Hawaiian Humane believes the use of animals for experimentation should be permitted only when there are no feasible alternatives and only when the experiment is believed likely to produce new and substantial information. That is certainly not the case in testing the chemicals used in cosmetics products where there are modern alternatives that are cheaper, faster and can better predict human reactions. These animal-free techniques are required in European Union countries as well as a growing number of states, including California, Nevada and Illinois. The provisions of HB1088 are well vetted, supported by many in the cosmetics industry itself, and include exemptions to address specific, substantiated threats to human health.



HB1021 / SB1175 Relating to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact


This bill authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources to enter into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact or similar agreement for mutual assistance in the enforcement of wildlife laws. It has Hawaiian Humane’s support.


The Hawaiian Humane Society advocates for the humane treatment of all animals, including wildlife. Hawaii authorities charged with enforcing wildlife-related regulations should have access to information about individuals convicted of violating these rules in other states so they can bar them from similar activities in Hawaii. SB 1175 would bring Hawaii in line with 48 other states that have joined together to enforce protections for wild animals and would strengthen that enforcement across jurisdictions.


HB409 Relating to Animal Caretakers


This bill requires the Department of Health to contract with a nonprofit animal rescue group to oversee caretakers of feral cats and mongooses. Exempts registered caretakers of feral cats and mongooses from state laws and county ordinances relating to the feeding and confinement of cats and mongooses. Establishes a trap-sterilize-return process. Hawaiian humane supports the intent of the bill, but has concerns about the details.

Hawaiian Humane supports HB409 as it relates to assisting the work of cat colony caregivers and protecting them from laws that might hinder their efforts. However, we oppose including mongoose in the bill. Cats and mongoose have very different status under existing law. It is illegal, for example, to keep a mongoose as a pet. In fact, it is illegal to care for mongoose at all without a permit from the Department of Agriculture (HRS142-92, 93, 93.5).

We are recommending that mongoose be excluded from the bill and that the bill sponsors work with stakeholders with expertise in TNRM to develop program terms, protocols and goals.

Update: The House Committee on Agriculture deferred this bill at a hearing on Feb. 3. Hawaiian Humane hopes to work with the bill sponsor and other stakeholders to secure state support for the trap-neuter-return-manage of Free-Roaming cats.


Relating to Affordable Housing

The Hawaiian Humane Society is a voting member of Partners in Care, an umbrella agency for homeless service providers, and we operate the Pet Kōkua program to address the needs of homeless and low-income pet owners. This work has made it painfully clear that Hawaiʻi’s lack of affordable housing and the resulting housing insecurity is a dire threat to the wellbeing of Hawaiʻi’s people and pets. We support efforts to ensure local families can stay intact and have a roof over their heads.

Below is a list of current bills related to affordable housing that have Hawaiian Humane’s support:

HB606 Affordable Housing

This bill authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds with the funds to be deposited into the dwelling unit revolving fund and the rental housing revolving fund.

HB1132 / SB1280 Affordable Housing

This bill authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to be appropriated into and out of the rental housing revolving fund for construction of phase I of a senior affordable housing project on School Street.


SB1 Affordable Housing

Establishes the ALOHA homes program to develop low-cost homes on state-owned and county-owned land in urban redevelopment sites to be sold in leasehold by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC) to qualified residents.


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