Controversy Over Euthanizing Animals, Commercial Activities at City Parks, Takes Center Stage at October 9 Council Hearing

article top
Tom Berg – Photo: Emily Metcalf

REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF COUNCIL MEMBER TOM BERG – Honolulu City Councilman Tom Berg (District One; Ewa Beach to Makaha) has scheduled for the committee on Parks and Cultural Affairs two contentious measures – one dealing with the process of the city’s contractor that euthanizes animals, and the other that clarifies commercial activities in city parks. Read agenda here.

“Because the city pays a vendor with city tax dollars through a contract agreement to facilitate the task of euthanizing animals, the city should dictate the formalities of the contract, and not the other way around,” stated Councilman Berg. “Bill 57 CD1 has been completely gutted and the new language to be voted on tomorrow simply states that the vendor (Hawaiian Humane Society) list on its website, how many and what type of animals are to be euthanized 24-hours in advance. These animals have committed no crimes, and most often, were never given the chance to unite with any entity to stave off being thrown into the oven. These animals deserve a ‘stay of execution’ and this bill offers them one last hope,” added Berg.


The Hawaiian Humane Society separates dogs and cats into adoptable and unadoptable categories at the very onset when brought to their facility. “Not every cat would want to purr when it’s in a cage after being trapped and handled by strangers . . . and that ‘purr’ test determines the cat’s adoptability. I have witnessed dogs growl at one person, and for others, lay down and want their belly scratched. This bill if passed, will have the animals on death row given one last chance by anyone wanting to help,” stated Berg.

Read Berg’s article published in the Hawaii Reporter here.

Regarding commercial activities in city parks, Bill 67 was introduced by Berg to clarify that Bills 5 and 11 pertaining to prohibiting commercial activities in Kailua were not meant to spill over onto other parks throughout the island. “I have on my website a youtube that compiles from council deliberations, the aftermath of Bills 5 and 11 – or as I would call it, unintended consequences.”

According to Parks and Recreation Director Gary Cabato, Berg was the only council member that attended any of the five public hearings that took place last month to get feedback on commercial activities taking place at city parks. “From the meeting in Waianae, I gathered information that certain low impact activities like catering, tent and chair businesses and the use of inflatables/jumpers for parties does not warrant an Environmental Assessment (EA), nor does selling candy for local sport activities to raise money, ” stated Berg.

By defining what are high impact and low impact activities for each community, Bill 67 would allow many low impact type activities to be placed on the Park Director’s Exemption List. “We have to let the Director of Parks and Recreation have the ability to work instantly with communities and allow commercial activities approved of, wanted, and supported by the community to exist with oversight instead of prohibited by a one-size-fits-all approach. Bill 67 is a clean house measure that needs to be addressed for we have many businesses on the edge scrambling wondering if they can stay afloat during the EA process,” stated Berg, adding that “Bill 67 will not erode or impede upon Bills 5 and 11 and keep Kailua’s efforts intact.”



Councilman Tom Berg | Honolulu Hale | 530 S. King Street Room 202 | Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
TEL: (808) 768-5001 | WEB: | E-MAIL: