(BIVN) – Feline advocates packed the old state judiciary building in Hilo to speak out on a new set of boating rules being proposed by the State of Hawaii.
Organizations like the Aloha Animal Advocates and Alley Cat Allies are opposing a plan to halt feeding of animal colonies, like feral or stray cats, at state boat harbors. Violators who “create or contribute to a colony” would face fines and possible imprisonment.
The emotional and sometimes tearful testimony also expressed fears that the cats would be killed.
The new approach to feral cat colonies is part of a proposed set of amendments to the rules that the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) says will “allow DLNR to better manage and facilitate boating and ocean recreation-related activities within State small boat harbors and nearshore waters, and to reorganize the HAR provisions relating to DOBOR for clarity and general efficacy.”
“This extensive rule package contains modifications we have wanted to make for many years,” says Ed Underwood, DOBOR administrator. “Some amendments are being proposed because facility management and the ocean recreation industry are changing rapidly and our existing rules cannot address the way people are using our harbors and the ocean today. Some rules are being repealed because they are obsolete. In all cases, the rules being proposed will allow DOBOR to do its job of managing its facilities and responsibilities more effectively.”
As far as feral cats are concerned, DOBOR is proposing to amend Chapter 13-232, Hawaiian Administrative Rules, as follows:
§13—232-57 1 Feeding of colonies, strays, wildlife, or feral animals prohibited. (a) While on any property under the jurisdiction of the division, no person shall feed or deliberately introduce any food material, substance, or attractant directly to, or in the vicinity of, any colony, stray, wildlife, or feral animal except as authorized by the department or the department’s authorized representative.
(b) Animals include, but are not limited to birds, cats, chickens, deer, dogs, eels, fish, mongooses, pigs, rodents, seals, sharks, and turtles.
(c) Nothing in this section prohibits the use of bait or chum to attract fish for fishing or harvesting purposes.
Also, relating to colonies:
§13-232-57.2 Animal abandonment and creating or contributing to colonies prohibited. (a) While on any property under the jurisdiction of the division, no person shall abandon an animal nor create or contribute to a colony.
(b) Violators shall be fined not less than $50 and not more than $1,000 or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than thirty days, or both, for each violation and shall also be subject to penalties in accordance with chapter 143-2.6 Hawaii Revised Statutes.