BY CITY COUNCIL MEMBER TOM BERG – The City and County of Honolulu are responsible for writing the terms of the contract it has with the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS) since the HHS receives $2.3 million to perform certain tasks for the county. However, instead of the City dictating to the HHS the terms and conditions it wants executed, the HHS is calling all the shots like it or not- a sort of take it or leave it approach.
I introduced Bill 57 to call on the Hawaiian Humane Society (HHS) to do a better job of notifying the public when it euthanizes over 10,000 cats and some 3,000 dogs each year. Bill 57 was deferred in the Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee a couple of weeks ago.
I have vowed to amend the bill and keep discussions going by simply instructing the HHS to list the number of cats and dogs that are to be euthanized 24-hours in advance on its website. This will permit members of the public and other entities in the No Kill realm to take action if they want and rescue those animals that are without a voice. Bill 57 CD1 would open up rescue efforts for those animals being put down for just being on this earth and have committed no crime other than to exist.
Right now, HHS does not conduct its business to alert those wanting to adopt an animal on death row to be apprised of such and keeps those animals about to die away from public view. If you walked in the HHS to view animals that are available for adoption, you will witness the void, the aftermath of purging thousands of animals from the very onset that are not on display that have been determined by HHS, to be unadoptable.
Bill 57 CD1 in its amended form would not create any added expenses for HHS nor would it hamper their operations since HHS already has a website and already has a list of animals scheduled to die each day.
A few years ago, I took in a feral cat that I saw trapped in a cage. I asked my condominium association that trapped the cat to let me have the cat. That very night, the cat gave birth to four kittens. When I first put my hand in the cage, the cat hissed and was frightened and wanted no contact with me. This is the criteria HHS uses – that if a cat hisses at you when you try to approach it while in a cage, it goes to the oven for disposal and deemed unadoptable and put out of sight.
After the feral cat gave birth, and it was given time to adjust to its new environment, it began to sit on my lap and followed me everywhere I went and loved to be petted.
I found homes for three of the four kittens and decided that after a few months I was not able to care for the cat and the remaining kitten and took them to the HHS for adoption. After about three days, I got sick to my stomach and felt so sad about leaving the cats at the shelter that I changed my mind and went back to the HHS to reclaim them.
The HHS stated that I had no right to know what happened to the cats and that when they were surrendered; the process is that the information remains confidential as to what happens next. I asked the HHS if they were adopted, they refused to answer. I asked it the cats were in a holding pen somewhere in the building and HHS refused to disclose that. Since the cats were not in the adopting view area, I asked to see the cats in cages waiting to be euthanized. HHS would not let me see those cats at all.
Bill 57 CD1 is that form of a stay of execution; only in this case it’s not the governor making that call, but we the people. Bill 57 CD1 is to allow one last chance of hope for those who have done nothing wrong to be given a chance of being saved.
Some dogs will growl at strangers and want to bite them and attack them while other people witness that same dog wanting to get their belly scratched. One cat may purr when held by a stranger and for another handling it, bite them. For HHS to determine who gets killed and who gets a chance for adoption is archaic and inhumane and for the state of California, it has a law to stop what HHS practices each day.
I will be holding a public hearing on October 9, at 10:30 a.m. at Honolulu Hale on this matter and encourage testimony on Bill 57 CD1 that if passed, will mandate that the HHS, if it wants to continue to receive city funds, must post on its website the number of animals about to be killed 24-hours in advance. This is the least we can do as a civilized society. We should follow in the footsteps of California law and offer hope, offer redemption, offer those unloved, to be loved…especially for those who have no say and are to be turned into ashes for no reason other than for monetary circumstances.