Hawaiian Humane Society conducted a statewide study to determine the scope of issues relating to the purchase of puppies.
Through an online survey we invited all dog owners to share their concerns related to pet acquisition whether they bought their dog from hobby or commercial breeders, pet shops, internet sales, roadside sales or other places.
92% of respondents were Oahu residents with 8% from the neighbor islands. Nearly 44% purchased their dog from an online or retail outlet such as pet store or on Craigslist. And nearly 24% acquired their dog from a hobby or large-scale breeder.
The majority (43%) purchased their dog for less than $350 followed by 23% of respondents having paid between $500 and $1,000. About 23% paid $1,000 or more for their dog.
30% reported having issues with their dog following the purchase. 32% of those reported spending $2,000 or more to address the issues. Some of the most common issues reported are as follows: hip dysplasia, skin disorders, infections and heart worms. About 7% attempted to return the dog to the seller. In terms of having an authority to go to for issues, approximately 38% just dealt with the issues and 18% did not realize there was any agency that could help.
Survey findings also affirmed that the public supports regulation. 98% believes large-scale breeding operations should be licensed and that inspectors should be allowed reasonable access.
During the 2011 Legislative session a bill to regulate large-scale breeders was deferred to allow the state to explore the need. Senator Clayton Hee and Representative Blake Oshiro introduced the bills which applied only to large-scale operations and required certain standards in regards to food, water, veterinary care, shelter, space and exercise. It also requires reasonable access for inspectors. Most legislators voted in favor of such regulation and constituents statewide supported it.
The Honolulu Star Advertiser voiced its endorsement in its March 2011 editorial: “Tightening laws against appalling conditions in cruel puppy mills would be a positive step toward reducing inhumanity to animals.”