Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, July 15, 1999

Dog owner’s use of choke
chain at park disturbing

Question: On June 26 at Blaisdell Park, I saw a woman who apparently had been participating in a dog obedience class that's held there Saturday mornings. She had a dog on a choke chain. I was some distance away but was attracted by the noise of this dog, who was just yelping in pain and fear. A number of other people also were looking and were appalled. The woman lifted the dog off the ground with the choke chain, bouncing it off the ground. The dog was trembling and cringing. Because it didn't do what the woman wanted it to do, she repeated her action. When she realized people were looking at her, she dragged the dog across the grass and threw it into a kennel carrier. I don't know why anyone connected with the class didn't do something. What she was doing is not part of obedience training. Can something be done?

Answer: The Hawaiian Humane Society already was looking into the incident, based on a similar complaint, when we called.

With the license number provided, the HHS can find out from police who the registered owner of the vehicle is. It then can investigate the case as possible animal cruelty, said operations manager Charles Duncan.

But until the HHS talked to the owner and obedience class trainer "to find out what went wrong, we can't judge," he said. Officials still need to talk to the trainer, he said this week.

"To the untrained eye, it's very disturbing," he acknowledged. So, if the choke chain "correction" is used, "we tell the dog owner that it's to be used as a last resort and to take (the dog) to the side and out of the public's eye."

Duncan, who has 20-plus years' experience as an obedience trainer, said using the choke chain to lift a dog is "an acceptable training method" in some obedience classes, but normally used only when a dog is overly aggressive or displays a tendency to bite and if all other methods have failed.

"If (the woman) was doing it just because the dog got her upset, then it was not an appropriate correction," he said.

The American Humane Association has a task force looking into various training methods. Use of the choke chain "is one of the methods that was being questioned ... because when cases (of animal cruelty) do go to court and people say it is an acceptable method of training, cases don't go anywhere."

Q: Next to American Savings Bank on 12th Avenue in Kaimuki is an area for parking -- three stalls for American Savings and three with meters. What authority does American Savings have to post signs that say those stalls are strictly for their customers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

A: The three unmetered stalls are along a private driveway leading to the municipal parking lot and belong to American Savings Bank.

The three metered stalls were provided by the bank for public use, whether bank customers or not. Revenues go to the city.

The history behind this: The bank asked the city for permission to build a drive-through for customers, a city official said. The city accepted because this also would provide another access to the municipal lot. However, because three municipal parking stalls would be eliminated, the bank agreed to provide three replacement stalls for public use.

It is up to the bank to monitor and control usage of its own three stalls, the city official said.

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

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