STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1570
RE: H.B. No. 1086
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred H.B. No. 1086, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO VETERINARIANS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Provide veterinarians who provide emergency care to an animal, immunity from civil liability in the absence of gross negligence;
(2) Provide veterinarians who render emergency treatment when there is no veterinarian-client-patient relationship, immunity from civil liability in the absence of gross negligence; and
(3) Require veterinarians to report events of animal injury, death, or abuse to law enforcement where there is reasonable cause to believe that it relates to dogfighting or animal abuse and provide veterinarians immunity from civil liability for making the reports.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Board of Veterinary Medicine; Hawaiian Humane Society; Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, Inc.; Pono Advocacy, LLC; Hawaii Association of Animal Welfare Agencies; Animal Rights Hawai‘i; and forty-four individuals.
Your Committee finds that, under existing law, if an animal is taken to a veterinarian with non-life threatening injuries and there is no owner present nor a preexisting veterinarian-client-patient relationship, the veterinarian is only permitted to provide pain medications and antibiotics for a certain number of days, depending on whether the animal is microchipped. In some situations, veterinarians must wait to perform important surgeries or other essential procedures to provide animals with necessary relief. Accordingly, this measure allows a veterinarian to be a "good Samaritan" and provide emergency care outside of a preexisting veterinarian-client-patient relationship, while also protecting the veterinarian from civil liability when assisting an animal in need during an emergency. This measure also provides justified guidance to practicing veterinarians on reporting acts of animal abuse, cruelty, and staged fighting, similar to the laws in place in over twenty other states in the country. Reporting such events to law enforcement is beneficial to the community at large, as multiple studies have shown a link between perpetrators of animal abuse and domestic or child abuse, and other acts of violence. This measure is therefore important to help advance these significant public interests.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1086, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and recommends that it pass Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair