Our Position on Issues Relating to Animals
The Kauai Humane Society is dedicated to promoting the human-animal bond and ensuring compassionate, informed care for all Kauai’s animals. In support of its mission and work as an animal welfare organization, the Kauai Humane Society embraces the following principles:
The Kauai Humane Society teaches and promotes humane treatment for every living creature in the belief that each one has an intrinsic value and that each contributes to the quality of life. The Humane Society believes that compassionate and responsible care toward animals develops compassionate and caring humans, and that condoning violence toward animals desensitizes people toward all living creatures — both animals and people.
Animals as Companions
The Society believes that companion animals fare best when people make a well considered decision to accept the responsibilities of ownership and a commitment to provide them with proper life-long care and quality of life.
Pet owners should respect and adhere to all animal-related laws, make sure their animal’s emotional and physical needs are met, and that their behavior makes them a welcome member, rather than a nuisance in our neighborhood and community. The Society encourages and recommends that cat owners confine their cats to the home or a suitably sized cattery for the animals’ safety.
Use of companion animals to help people with special needs can foster bonds beneficial to people and animals — including sight and service animals, therapy animals, and those making pet visitations. The Society supports programs that provide positive benefits to both animals and humans.
Pet overpopulation is a community-wide issue that requires community-based solutions. Through community collaboration, the Society advocates the three-fold strategy of legislation, education and sterilization to effectively address this critical issue.
The Society believes that all companion animals should have a home. To ensure responsible pet ownership, the Society advocates spay/neuter and pet identification. It encourages training and preventative medical care to eliminate pets being given up because of behavior and health problems. The Society strongly opposes casual breeding.
The Kauai Humane Society supports the sterilization of pets and believes that not only does it have an impact on stemming pet overpopulation, but that altered pets live longer, healthier lives and make better companions. We endorse prepubertal (8 weeks of age) spay/neuter of dogs and cats, the further development of alternative methods of sterilization, and legislation that mandates sterilization when appropriate.
The Society believes that people taking full responsibility for their pets is essential for eliminating pet overpopulation. Those responsibilities include having realistic expectations about the animal’s needs and their likely relationship with the animal. The responsibilities also include controlling breeding; providing ID; providing training and preventive medical care to eliminate pets being given up because of health or behavior problems; accessing community resources to help eliminate problems which might cause an owner to give up a pet; and finding a new home for the pet or bringing it to the Society if the owner can no longer keep it.
The Kauai Humane Society’s goal is to successfully address overpopulation and to have euthanasia performed only when it is the only alternative to end an animals’ suffering. We consider quality of life paramount. We do not believe indefinite confinement, isolation or indiscriminate placement is in the best interest of companion animals. For animals that are suffering from irreversible disease, injury or other infirmities, those that pose a safety threat, or those for which a caring home cannot be found, euthanasia is the most humane alternative.
The Kauai Humane Society advocates the guidelines in the “Euthanasia Training Manual,” published by The Humane Society of the United States and believes that each agency should choose a proven humane method performed by a professionally trained and certified staff.
Trap, Neuter, Return and Management (TNRM) of Feral Cats
The Society supports responsible TNRM as a method to control feral cats. While the Society believes that all cats deserve a home with an owner and is working towards that end, we recognize that Hawaii has a significant number of homeless cats. Many of these cats were once socialized, but have since become feral.
There are many strategies to address feral cat populations, one of which is TNRM. TNRM can be an effective strategy when responsible cat colony caretakers maintain their colonies by obtaining the property owner’s agreement; ensuring colonies are in a safe environment; locating colonies away from protected animals; sterilizing all members of the colony; removing kittens and newly abandoned, socialized cats; keeping records of cats in the colonies; providing necessary veterinary care and microchip identification; ensuring that feeding areas are free of rubbish, and otherwise maintaining the colony so it does not become a nuisance to others.
The Sale of Pets
The Society believes that the breeding, importing and sale of pets should only be done if responsible breeding guidelines to ensure a healthy animal are followed AND that there is a surety of placing the puppy or kitten with a responsible owner.
The Kauai Humane Society opposes animal procurement practices that exploit the novelty appeal of various animals at the expense of their well-being and that encourage impulse purchases without ensuring that the buyer is well equipped and knowledgeable about providing proper and humane care.
The Society supports development and promulgation of humane standards for the care, display, transportation and sale of animals.
The Kauai Humane Society believes that puppy mills are a cruel exploitation of dogs. Even if the living conditions are adequate, the indiscriminate breeding of dogs adds significantly to the pet overpopulation problem. Puppies produced in puppy mills are more prone to disease due to poor nutrition, inadequate medical care and the stress of being shipped long distances at a young age. Puppy mill breeders generally ignore the behavior traits or physical problems of the parents. Through irresponsible breeding practices, congenital disorders or undesirable and sometimes even dangerous behaviors are passed on to the puppies.
The Kauai Humane Society opposes the sale or purchase of novelty pets such as chicks, ducks and reptiles. In addition, we are against giving animals as gifts, such as rabbits at Easter. The majority of these animals are acquired on impulse by people who may be unprepared to meet the animal’s special needs. As a result, many such animals suffer immediately from lack of proper care, while others suffer as their short-lived novelty value diminishes.
Animal Training Methods
The Society supports methods that use positive reinforcement and rewards to train animals. We strongly discourage the use of physical or psychological punishment for misbehavior or behavior modification.
Animals in Entertainment
Wild animals have well-established psychological, behavioral and environmental needs. The Society believes that when these needs cannot be met, the animals should not be used. For these reasons, the Society believes that wild animals should not be used in entertainment such as circuses, shows and exhibits.
The Society is opposed to animal contests that cause neglect, abuse or exploitation of animals when the welfare of the animals is not a priority. These events have a desensitizing effect, causing people to be unsympathetic to animal suffering and condoning animal abuse as an acceptable form of entertainment.
Practices such as cockfighting and dog-fighting cause acute suffering and physical harm to animals and desensitizes both children and adults to the value of life and should be eliminated. Such organized and willful abuse of animals is contrary to the values of a humane, aware and caring society. The Humane Society condemns and opposes all such “blood sports.”
The Society works actively to prevent any practice that might produce pain, stress, injury or death to any animal in activities such as advertising, rodeos and circuses.
Animals as Food
The Kauai Humane Society supports the enforcement and strengthening of current laws and the implementation of humane standards for animals in every phase of animal-based food production. The Society opposes “factory farming” or any other practice that results in animals being viewed as and treated as machines. Because of the potential of inhumane slaughter, the Society opposes the slaughter of any animal except by a certified slaughter house.
Trophy hunting and trophy fishing exploit animals solely for entertainment and are contrary to the values of a humane, aware and caring society. Hunting animals solely as trophies or for recreation should be prohibited.
The method used for any hunting should be the one that provides the quickest death. When hunting dogs are used, they must be under the control of their owner at all times and be trained not to injure or be injured by the animal being hunted.
The Society supports efforts to end needless and cruel destruction of wild animals. When all other avenues have been exhausted and there remains a demonstrable need to kill wildlife, it should be performed by responsible individuals using methods that result in an instantaneous death without suffering for animals.
The Society advocates humane methods of bird control, which include roost area modification, birth control, proper disposal of garbage and waste, no feeding policies and appropriate planning in the construction of new buildings. The Society is opposed to the use of poisons, compounds or methods that cause suffering in controlling bird populations.
The Society believes that exotic or wild animals are not appropriate companion animals and should not be sold as pets.