Feral Animals; Task Force

Establishes a temporary managed cat colony task force to address
health concerns related to feral cat population.  (SB2247 HD1)

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                H.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the State continues
 2 to face an overpopulation of feral cats.  These cats include tame
 3 cats that have been abandoned by irresponsible owners and the
 4 progeny of these cats which are often unsocialized to human
 5 contact.  Historically, many people have tried to trap and remove
 6 these cats, often to the detriment of the cats.  These methods
 7 have not proven successful and the problem persists.  
 8      A new method called trap/neuter/return (TNR) has been used
 9 successfully in many countries and in other states and cities in
10 the United States.  Because of this program and the efforts of
11 many of the caretakers and their supporters, a number of areas on
12 Oahu have been stabilized and contain distinct cat colonies
13 consisting of well cared for, neutered feral cats.  The impact of
14 these colonies on the public is minimal in comparison to the
15 impact of the uncontrolled population of feral cats in existence
16 prior to the caretakers' intervention.  It is the plan of many of
17 these volunteers to continue the TNR program until it is no
18 longer needed.
19      The legislature further finds that there are other concerns
20 regarding the overpopulation of feral cats, including evidence

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 1 that feral cats are a major cause of native bird mortality and
 2 population decline, and diseases that can be transmitted to
 3 humans.
 4      The effects of the overpopulation of feral cats are far-
 5 reaching and a solution must be found.  Recently, the vector
 6 control branch of the department of health proposed rules to
 7 forbid feeding any feral animal on public, and some private,
 8 land.  While the goals of the department are laudable and must be
 9 addressed, the legislature finds that colony managers,
10 conservationists, and the community at-large have not yet
11 convened to come up with a compromised solution.  These proposed
12 rules may be premature.
13      The purpose of this Act is to establish a task force to
14 discuss the issues involved and propose solutions to health
15 concerns raised by feral cat overpopulation.
16      SECTION 2.  (a)  There is established a temporary managed
17 cat colony task force in the office of the director of health for
18 administrative purposes to address the trap/neuter/return program
19 as a solution to health concerns raised by cat overpopulation.
20      The task force shall include representatives from all four
21 counties and shall consist of:
22      (1)  Representatives of all interested government agencies
23           and departments including but not limited to:

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 1           (A)  The department of health;
 2           (B)  The department of land and natural resources;
 3           (C)  The county parks departments;
 4           (D)  The United States Department of Agriculture;
 5           (E)  The National Park Service;
 6           (F)  The United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and
 7           (G)  The United States Pacific Command;
 8      (2)  Representatives of animal welfare organizations,
 9           including but not limited to:
10           (A)  Animal Rights Hawaii;
11           (B)  Hawaiian Humane Society;
12           (C)  Hawaii Cat Foundation;
13           (D)  Abandoned and Feral Cat Friends;
14           (E)  The Feline Foundation of Maui; and
15           (F)  Advocats of Kona;
16      (3)  Representatives of environmental organizations such as
17           the Audubon Society; and
18      (4)  Persons with scientific expertise including but not
19           limited to:
20           (A)  A representative of the Hawaii Veterinary Medical
21                Association;
22           (B)  An animal behaviorist; and
23           (C)  A public health specialist with knowledge in
24                zoonotics.

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 1      No later than August 1, 2000, each agency and nonprofit
 2 organization shall appoint their own representative to the task
 3 force.  The representatives shall then solicit names of feral cat
 4 colony caretakers to volunteer to sit on the task force and shall
 5 select five of the nominees based on their knowledge of the
 6 trap/neuter/return program and ability to serve on the task
 7 force.  The task force shall elect a chair, vice chair, and
 8 secretary from its members at its first meeting.  Until the
 9 election, the representative from the Hawaiian Humane Society
10 shall act as temporary chair.
11      (b)  The task force shall:
12      (1)  Address cat-related health concerns;
13      (2)  Immediately survey, in general terms, the managed
14           colonies already present in the State, including a
15           census of cats in the colonies;
16      (3)  As much as possible, keep track of new colony
17           formation, including:
18           (A)  The number of cats in the area prior to
19                sterilization;
20           (B)  The number of cats sterilized;
21           (C)  The steps taken for new cats that appear in the
22                colony; and
23           (D)  Any health issues that may arise;
24           and

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 1      (4)  Monitor all complaints made to the vector control
 2           branch that are directly related to cats and public
 3           health, including those relating to feral cats in
 4           colonies and not in colonies, and domestic cats;
 5           provided that all complaints shall be kept in at least
 6           those categories with a summary of the complaint and
 7           its resolution.
 8      No identifying information shall be collected without the
 9 caretaker's consent.  Each complaint summary shall include the
10 name of the complainant, if known, and the geographical location
11 where the problem complained of occurred.
12      (c)  The task force shall submit:
13      (1)  Interim reports outlining the task force's progress
14           towards finding solutions to alleviate the public
15           impact of feral cats to the legislature thirty days
16           prior to the convening of each regular session for the
17           first five years unless its work is completed sooner;
18           and
19      (2)  A final report thirty days prior to the convening of
20           the 2006 regular session.
21      (d)  The task force shall cease to exist on June 30, 2006.
22      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.