Stricter dog law
would bite hard

Higher penalties for dangerous
pets now go to the mayor

A bill that aims to put more teeth into the city's dangerous-dog law was approved unanimously by the City Council yesterday.

City & County of Honolulu The newest version of the measure increases the maximum jail time to six months and probation of up to a year for a repeat offender. It also prevents a judge from suspending a sentence.

"I think everyone's pleased with the bill. It addresses a lot of the concerns that the community has had regarding dangerous dogs. Hopefully a lot of the owners (of dangerous dogs) will take responsibility," said Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz, who introduced the bill.

The bill increases the minimum fine to $500 from $50 but keeps the maximum fine at $2,000. It also mandates several penalties that previously were options. Defendants had the opportunity to wipe the incident from their records, but a conviction would now be assured because a judge would have to sentence a defendant either to jail or probation. Restitution would also be required.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill yesterday, but animal-rights activists have said that the penalties were too harsh against dogs.

The bill now moves to Mayor Mufi Hannemann for consideration.

City & County of Honolulu

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