Published in The Maui News October 13, 2013
By STACY CRIVELLO , for The Maui News
A review of key animal issues facing the county will be conducted by the County Council’s Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee on Thursday at 9 a.m.
The committee will consider an 18-page bill introduced by Council Chairwoman Gladys C. Baisa last year to revise Chapter 6.04, Maui County Code, relating to animal control. The Spay/Neuter Incentive Program, known as SNIP, will also be discussed.
Pets are valued members of the family in many households throughout Maui County. All too often, though, companion animals are neglected, abused or allowed to become a threat to humans or other animals.
The bill expands certain responsibilities for animal owners, including not only traditional pets like cats and dogs, but also rabbits, pigs, guinea pigs and caged birds.
Current law says shelter must be provided to shield animals from wind, rain and sun and include bedding to protect against wet and dampness. The bill says the shelter must additionally ensure the animals’ “health and well-being.”
The bill also reforms existing regulations relating to dangerous dogs, including establishing specific guidelines for addressing complaints to the Animal Control Board if a dog causes bodily injury or poses an imminent threat.
Under the bill, the owner of a “dangerous dog” must comply with a strict regimen of compliance standards, including appropriately restraining the animal, posting of warning signs such as “beware of dog,” and providing proof of liability insurance. Otherwise, the owner may be subject to penalties and the animal may be impounded by authorities.
The bill would retain the existing law’s prohibition on considering a dog’s breed when determining whether the dog is dangerous.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Maui was awarded $75,000 to administer the Spay/Neuter Incentive Program for the current fiscal year.
SNIP is an integral means of mitigating the population of cats and dogs and reducing shelter admission of animals, which may be subject to euthanasia. Increased rates of pet sterilization promote healthier pets and more pet-friendly communities.
Pet owners may acquire SNIP payment vouchers from most veterinary clinics, public libraries, the Lanai police station and the Maui Humane Society.
SPCA Maui has been sponsoring weekend spay-neuter clinics for both feral and pet cats, on a donation basis.
The committee may discuss clarifications sought by SPCA Maui on the administration of the SNIP contract, which had been annually granted to the Maui Humane Society for more than 20 years.
A review of the county’s grants management process, with a focus on grants administered by the Department of Housing and Human Concerns, will also be considered at the meeting.
If you have concerns about these issues, you may email your testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org. The council’s district offices in Hana, Lanai and Molokai will accept oral testimony, with live audio transmission to the council chambers.
The meeting agenda and the bill are available at www.mauicounty.gov/committees/hht.
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* Stacy Crivello holds the council seat for the Molokai residency area. She is the chair of the Housing, Human Services and Transportation Committee. “Chair’s 3 Minutes” is a weekly column to explain the latest news on county legislative matters.