Isles grade poorly for laws against dogfighting
The Humane Society of the United States ranked Hawaii among the five worst states for its laws governing dogfighting, despite a new law making it a felony.
"Although participating in a dogfight and possessing dogs for fighting are both felonies in Hawaii, there are no laws prohibiting someone from being a spectator at a dogfight," said a news release from the Humane Society of the United States, which rated Hawaii 47th.
However, the Hawaiian Humane Society and Honolulu Police Department have had no reports of dogfighting locally, although cockfighting, also illegal, is prevalent.
The criticism coincided with a judge's ruling yesterday allowing a consortium of animal rights groups to file a court brief that argues NFL player Michael Vick should get 57 months in jail when sentenced in December, the New York Times reported. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback accepted a plea agreement to a felony charge of conspiracy stemming from a dogfighting kennel being run on his Virginia property.
Kawehi Yim, spokeswoman for the Hawaiian Humane Society, said the organization is concerned when laws are not up to par with national standards, and "it is definitely something for us to pursue."
Dogfighting is a Class C felony in Hawaii, punishable by up to five years in prison. The Legislature passed a bill this year that establishes a Class C felony offense for aggravated cruelty to animals, which includes dogfighting.
Idaho and Wyoming are the only states where dogfighting is not a felony.