At the Hawaiian Humane Society on Wednesday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed six bills related to protecting animals.
"These measures will rightfully hold those who abuse pets accountable for their actions," said Gov. Abercrombie. "They will also provide those who care for pets more opportunities."
The bills will strengthen animal cruelty laws, help residents find rental housing that allows pets, and provide other protections and accommodations for animals.
SB635 (Relating to Animal Cruelty) provides protection for law enforcement animals as they perform their duty, and adds a definition of “law enforcement animal” to the Penal Code.
SB328 (Relating to Animals) allows for “pet deposits” to increase rental options for tenants with pets.
HB235 (Relating to Collection of Restitution for Crime Victims) assists humane societies in their care of animals previously subjected to animal cruelty.
SB6 (Relating to Animal Cruelty) prohibits the use of steel-jawed leg-hold traps and limits the use of snares and certain other traps in residential areas where domesticated pets may fall victim and suffer serious injury.
SB9 (Relating to Animals) keeps pets out of the hands of those found guilty of animal cruelty.
SB978 (Relating to the Penal Code) provides harsher penalties for those found guilty of animal cruelty by upgrading misdemeanor cruelty offenses involving 10 or more animals to a Class C felony.
"We commend Gov. Abercrombie, Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee, House Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads, and the state Legislature for strengthening our state animal welfare laws, including holding those who cruelly abuse animals more accountable," said Inga Gibson, Hawaii director for The Humane Society of the United States. "Strong animal welfare laws not only protect pets, but create safer, more compassionate communities for all of the people of Hawaii."