Report Title:

Dangerous dogs


Requires owners to take responsibility for dogs deemed dangerous.


H.B. NO.









relating to dangerous dogs.



SECTION 1. Act 222, Session Laws of Hawaii 2001, authorized counties to enact and enforce ordinances relating to dogs with a history of biting, provided that the ordinances are consistent with state law. Nevertheless, there have been reports throughout the state of dangerous dogs freely roaming the streets and attacking innocent children and adults. The legislature believes that stricter laws and enforcement are necessary to eliminate this problem.

The purpose of this Act is to strengthen state law relating to dangerous dogs freely roaming the streets.

SECTION 2. Chapter 142, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new part to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:


142-    Definitions. Whenever used in this part, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:

""Dangerous dog" means any dog that without provocation, attacks a person or animal or behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an imminent threat of bodily injury to one or more persons or serious injury or death to a domestic animal.

142-    Dangerous dogs. It is unlawful for the owner of a dangerous dog to permit it to freely roam outside of the owner's property without the owner's supervision.

142-    Dangerous dogs complaints. (a) Complaints regarding dangerous dogs shall be made immediately to the officer or animal control contractor responsible for handling animal complaints. A picture of the dangerous dog reported to be roaming freely is sufficient justification for the officer or animal control contractor to pick up the dog.

(b) The officer or animal control contractor shall:

(1) Investigate complaints of dangerous dogs roaming the streets unsupervised by their owners;

(2) Notify the owner of the dangerous dog of the complaint; and

(3) Remind the owner of the dangerous dog that the dog must be on a leash and supervised at all times while in public.

(c) If a dangerous dog is caught by an officer or animal control contractor, the dog shall be held at the nearest animal shelter until the owner claims the dog and pays a $100 processing fee.

(d) If the dog has bitten a person or domestic animal and causes injuries that require medical attention, the officer shall issue a summons or citation to the owner of the dog.

(e) Medical facilities shall be required to notify an officer or animal control contractor when a person is treated for injuries caused by a dog.

142-    Dangerous dogs roaming after citation or summons. A dog that has been picked up while roaming freely in public and whose owner has been previously issued a citation or summons, shall be held until the court date, unless the court directs otherwise.

142-    Dogs deemed dangerous by the court. (a) The owner of a dog who is deemed dangerous by the court shall be required to keep the dog on a three-foot leash, cord, chain or other similar means of physical restraint while in public.

(b) The court shall require that the owner obtain microchip identification for their dog within ten days of the court deeming the dog as dangerous.

142-    Penalty. (a) The owner of a dog deemed dangerous by the court shall be punished by a minimum of ten days to a maximum of thirty days of imprisonment if:

(1) The dog bites a person requiring medical treatment for the injury sustained by the dog; and

(2) The dog was caught freely roaming in public.

(b) A dog that had been deemed dangerous by the court and subsequently caught freely roaming in public shall be destroyed.

(c) A dog that has bitten a person and has no owner shall be destroyed.

142-    Liability insurance for dangerous dogs. If an owner of a dangerous dog is convicted for a violation under this chapter, the owner shall be required to obtain liability insurance of not less than $100,000 or destroy the dangerous dog.

142-    Leash liability. If a leashed dog gets into a fight with an unleashed dog, the owner of the unleashed dog will be held strictly liable for any injuries or damages caused by the unleashed dog."

SECTION 2. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.