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Paws & Reflect by Maui Humane Society

January 31, 2011 - Mark Vieth
The Maui Humane Society’s Field Operations Department (formerly called Animal Control) handles thousands of calls each year, ranging from complaints about loose dogs to accusations of animal abuse. Often, pet owners are ignorant of the laws or simply don’t know how to properly care for their pets. Whenever possible our officers use education to solve problems, and we’ve found this to be successful in resolving many issues. However, sometimes owners are not cooperative, or there is serious neglect or abuse. With enough evidence, these cases will be prosecuted, and having good laws and realistic penalties in place can make all the difference in the outcome.

Sadly, the State of Hawaii has a very poor track record when it comes to laws that protect animals. MHS works jointly with animal enforcement agencies across the state to advocate for stronger laws that promote kindness, compassion, and protection for animals. In recent years,we have had some great highs (like creating a felony status for animal abuse) and some lows (unable to pass some other important legislation). The fact is, every year thousands of bills are introduced; only a small percentage of those are going to be heard and even less are passed.

You can help. On January 15, the State Legislature convened for the 2011 session. Let your State legislators know what issues are important to you. This year MHS is putting together a database of animal supporters interested in receiving updates and alerts on animal-related bills. If you want to be part of this support system to speak for our island animals, please e-mail our CEO at jbouchard@mauihumane- Make your voice heard.

This column was sponsored by a donation from Maui Accommodations Guide ( If you are interested in sponsoring a future column, contact the Maui Humane Society at


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