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Honolulu Police Chief rallies with animal activists to advocate for animal cruelty bills

By Arielle Argel

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — Chantell Moniz is the president of Hina’s Legacy Rescue Foundation, a non-profit that works to fight against animal cruelty. She said lately she’s been getting an increase in calls and messages.

“It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of pounding the pavement. It’s a lot of heartbreak. It’s a lot of tears. It’s cases that never gets addressed. It’s cases that never gets prosecuted. It’s very sickening a lot of the times,” said Moniz.

Many other animal advocates came together, including Moniz, to rally in support of two bill; House Bill 1980, which would increase the penalty for cockfighting and House Bill 1580, which would increase penalties for animal cruelty offenses such as animal sexual abuse, torture and mutilation.

Both bills would turn these offenses into felonies instead of misdemeanors.

“The studies have shown by psychologists in the industry, if we show young minds and we get them involved or see criminal cruelty to animals and that kind of activity. Then they may carry that into the future with human beings. So how do we as an organization, law enforcement and our community partners work together to stop that?” said Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan.

According to HPD, in 2023 there were 73 animal cruelty crimes compared to 58 in 2018.

HB 1980 and HB 1580 were both heard on Tuesday morning by the senate, where the majority voted to not pass either bills. Many senators said they understand the intent of the bills but voted in opposition saying the bills are too broad and will negatively impact Hawaii’s ranchers and farmers.

“My concern is we leave the door open as it affects animal agriculture. I’ve had a lot of contact with constituents and as a state is striving towards food self reliance and food security. The availability of protein is exceedingly important,” said Sen. Herbert Richards on both bills.

“Not everybody is a criminal, not everybody fights the chicken at the chicken fight, but then this is going to be a broad thing that going to criminalizing anyone that has a possession of the bird,” said Sen. Kurt Fevella on HB 1980.

While this is not the outcome many of the animal advocates wanted, they say they will continue to find ways to speak up for those that can not.

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