Hawaii, the so-called “progressive” state infamous for its very regressive attitudes regarding animals, might be taking steps this legislative season to actually change things for the better.

Consider, for example, House Bill 1621. This bill would put in place new regulations to deal with the problem of puppy mills in Paradise. As the proposed bill itself states, “The legislature finds that Hawaii does not currently regulate the large scale breeding of dogs and that this lack of regulation often results in the breeding of dogs in a cruel and inhumane manner.  The large scale breeding of dogs is often conducted under conditions that inflict long-term suffering on the dogs and may also lead to the sale of unhealthy dogs to unsuspecting consumers.”

Therefore, “it is necessary to regulate large scale dog breeding operations and facilities in order to prevent cruel treatment of the dogs and protect the public.”

The current lack of regulation has led to such horrors as those uncovered at a breeding facility called Bradley Hawaiian Puppies last year. In June 2010, a former employee contacted Last Chance for Animals to inform them of horrible conditions at the facility.

LCA dispatched an investigator who worked undercover at Bradley Hawaiian Puppies. What he saw was heart-wrenching. “There were about 130 dogs, puppies and adults, all different types of breeds,” he reported. “It was almost impossible to breathe at times, the smell of feces and urine permeated the property. The sick and injured dogs, including a dog with a cancerous tumor, were caged indoors 24/7, with no special treatment given to them whatsoever.”

When asked about the LCA’s findings, Vernon Luke, a former manager at the puppy mill, said “I don’t think it is that serious.” Dave Becker, the current owner of Bradley Hawaiian Puppies, was even more succinct: “What’s the big deal?”

HB 1621 hopes to improve the situation. According to the Hawaiian Humane Society, the bill would mandate licensing of large scale breeders. It would cap the total number of breeding animals at 50, limit the number of times a female can be bred and set minimum standards of care, such as indoor/outdoor access and annual veterinary care. It would also provide law enforcement the access they need to inspect commercial breeding operations.

In explaining the need for this bill, State Representative Cynthia Thielen said, “People would look at Hawaii and say, ‘You mean Hawaii lets this inhumane process go on and they aren’t doing anything about it?'” She added, “This is the state of aloha and we should be giving that aloha to our little four legged friends, too.”

Take a stand against puppy mills in Hawaii. Send a letter to Hawaii lawmakers urging them to pass HB 1621. Act quickly; the deadline for written testimony is Monday, February 7th.

Photo Credit: Last Chance for Animals