State has no dog breed prohibition, but some landlords might restrict
I'm planning to move from California to Oahu soon. I have a pit bull terrier. Does Hawaii have any state laws governing dog breed?
Answer: Thankfully, Hawaii has no state laws prohibiting specific breeds of dogs, though some U.S. cities do discriminate. Denver, Miami and Cincinnati are metropolitan areas that ban pit bulls. If you are moving into military housing, however, purebred and mixed-breed pit bulls are prohibited.
Before moving, research rentals that allow pets. While the state doesn't support dog-breed discrimination, landlords or homeowners associations could have their own policies in place. For example, some landlords might not allow any type of dog, and some apartments only welcome dogs under a certain weight/size.
Q: How can I do that research?
A: Visit www.hawaiianhumane.org and go to Pets in Housing to search for animal-friendly rentals on Oahu. A quick Internet search will also find real estate agents who specialize in finding housing for pet owners.
The society also offers a dozen tips for showing potential landlords that you are a responsible pet owner -- including inviting the landlord to "interview" your freshly groomed, well-behaved pet; gathering letters of reference from previous landlords attesting to your pet's good behavior; and sharing copies of health certificates. Refrain from offering a pet security deposit, as this is illegal by state law.
Q: Does it make sense to ban specific breeds of dogs?
A: While data might attribute most fatal dog attacks to pit bulls and Rottweilers, any canine breed is capable of causing harm to a human.
Critics, including the Hawaiian Humane Society, believe that breed bans are misguided, discriminatory policies that ignore the simple fact that the leading indicator of aggressive behavior in a dog is the owner's relationship, training and care of the animal. Across the nation, leaders in animal welfare firmly believe that when it comes to aggression, judge the deed and not the breed.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.