Owners must provide solid cage flooring and vet care to sick animals
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 31, 2010
Pet owners face stricter rules on animal cages and veterinary care, while people screened for colorectal cancer will get part of the bill picked up by their health plan, under new Hawaii laws that take effect in 2011.
Beginning tomorrow, kennels, cages and other pet enclosures are required to have an area of solid flooring large enough for the animal to lie down on.
Advocates say cages with floors of wire or metal grate cause animals to develop sores on the pads of their paws, which could lead to serious medical problems.
Act 147 will require solid flooring surfaces such as wood, metal or hard plastic in enclosures for dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs and caged birds. Enclosures will be allowed to have some wire flooring.
Pamela Burns, executive director of the Hawaiian Humane Society, said the new law is aimed at people who breed animals on a large scale and owners who use kennels or cages for their pet's primary enclosure.
The new law also requires pet owners to provide veterinary care to ailing animals to prevent suffering. Veterinary care previously was recommended but not required.
Violators face a fine of up to $2,000 and up to a year in jail.
"This was a significant achievement for us," said Burns. Unsuccessful attempts were made earlier to move the bill.
About 60 percent of Hawaii residents own pets.
Another new law, taking effect in March, will require health insurers to cover colon cancer screening. Health care providers will be required to inform recipients of the risk associated with undiagnosed colon cancer and encourage them to consult with their physician about screening options.
Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Hawaii. People age 50 and over are urged to undergo colorectal cancer screening.
People who receive colorectal screenings now pay out-of-pocket expenses of $100 to $200.
"It's such a preventable cancer," said Jackie Young, chief staff officer of the American Cancer Society-Hawaii Chapter.
Other laws taking effect in the new year include:
» Act 126 relating to primary elections: Moves up the Hawaii primary election to the second Saturday in August, from the second-to-last Saturday in September. The new law takes effect tomorrow.
» Act 211 relating to campaign financing: Corporations that contribute $1,000 or more to a candidate or candidate committee in a two-year election cycle are required to file a report with the Campaign Finance Commission.