Act Now to Protect Hawaii’s Community Cats

Your help is urgently needed to prevent the suffering and starvation of Hawaii’s free-roaming cats.

17530495962_285b18148f_zSB2450 and its companion, HB 2118 would ban the feeding of all animals deemed predators, including stray cats and dogs, on state land. This is a sweeping mandate that would include state beaches, parks, schools and more. It is well known, through experience and research, that there are more effective, compassionate solutions to reducing community cat populations in Hawaii. Please join the Hawaiian Humane Society, the Oahu SPCA, Cat Friends and many other animal welfare organizations and citizens in strongly opposing this legislation.

How you can help

Submit Testimony in Person

SB2450 is scheduled for hearing on Friday, February 12th at 2pm:

State Capitol Conference room 414

415 South Beretania Street

Be prepared to wait, as SB2450 is halfway through the agenda. It is still advisable to show up on time as it is difficult to predict how quickly the other items will proceed. Allow time to find parking and bring quarters to feed the meter. Parking under the State Capitol may be full.

Additional parking may be found at:

  • Department of Health on the mauka/ewa corner of Punchbowl and Beretania (entrance off of Beretania)
  • DLNR building, just makai of Beretania on the Diamond Head side of Punchbowl.
  • Private parking garage on Alakea Street (between King and Hotel—Diamond Head side) where they charge municipal parking rates

Submit Testimony Online

Click the to read the bill, get hearing information and submit your testimony.

 

What do I Say?

Here are some tips on structuring effective and professional-sounding testimony. I’ve included my own (still in draft form) comments to get you started, but your submission will be more meaningful from your own perspective, in your own words. Try to make your points concise. In-person testimony should be no more than 3-5 minutes, which is about 400-650 words or 1 and 1/2 pages in a standard single-spaced font. Keep your language clear, simple, and to the point to most effectively maintain the reader’s/listener’s attention.

 

Step by Step

Identify the bill you are submitting testimony for

Testimony on SB2450

 

Address the committee

TO THE HONORABLE  MIKE GABBARD, CHAIR, AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON WATER, LAND, AND AGRICULTURE; AND TO THE HONORABLE GLENN WAKAI, CHAIR, AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, ENVIRONMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY

 

Identify yourself and the organization you represent, if applicable

My name is Carolyn Naun, DVM. For the past five years, I have regularly assisted the Hawaiian Humane Society in their population control efforts by performing spay and neuter surgeries. I have also worked alongside individuals in the community, some of whom have been feeding free-roaming cat colonies for as long as twenty years, and helped them use trap, neuter and return programs to humanely reduce the number of cats.

 

Thank the committee for the opportunity to present testimony, and identify, once again, the bill, and your position

Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on Senate Bill 2450, which I strongly oppose.

 

Clearly and concisely lay out your reasons for your position

I would like to offer the following comments.

The community cat situation is the most serious and widespread animal welfare problem that we face on Oahu today. It is a complex issue to which there is no single easy solution. I am sympathetic to the frustration over the impact that feeding these cats may have on the environment and the surrounding communities.

However, criminalizing the feeding of free-roaming cats on state lands is an overly simplistic and inhumane response.

Specific problems with this strategy include:

  1. First and foremost, abruptly cutting off a food supply to innocent animals who have grown to depend upon it is cruel.Period.
  2. It is equally cruel to the caregivers of these cats, many of whom have been tending to them for decades. Motivated out of kindness, they have in many cases developed a strong bond with the colony. It will be just as distressing for these individuals to see their charges starving and begging for food as it would be for you or I to watch a family pet, or even our own child, go hungry.
  3. Cats in maintained colonies have been conditioned to expect food from humans, and their behavior will likely become more intrusive to the surrounding communities as they desperately seek out new food sources.
  4. To date, the most effective humane method that we know of to reduce community cat populations is to employ trap, neuter and release programs. The success of such programs depends upon the assistance and cooperation of the very people who would be criminalized by this bill.

 

Conclude by once again stating your position on the bill

For these reasons, I strongly oppose SB2450. I warmly invite members of the committee and interested parties to work with all stakeholders, including the numerous animal welfare organizations on Oahu, to address this problem in a humane and respectful manner. It will not be easy work. A commitment of significant resources and an extended, ongoing effort are mandatory to providing meaningful control of our cat population, but I believe that a solution is still within reach.

 

Offer to answer any questions and provide contact information

Please feel free to contact me at cnaun@armsofaloha.com if you have any questions.
Respectfully, Carolyn Naun, DVM

 

Now that you have what you need to be an advocate, please step up and take a stand for our cats and our community.

Mahalo,

Dr. Naun

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