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Fee is now being charged for picking up stray felines

By June Watanabe

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:04 a.m. HST, Jul 20, 2011



Question: I called the Hawaiian Humane Society to pick up a cat I had trapped on my property and was told that as of July 4 it would cost me $25. In the past the Humane Society picked up stray cats for free and, as an incentive, offered a cage if you needed one. As there is a large feral cat colony in our neighborhood, my neighbors and I trap these cats often. Who created this new policy, and why? Won't it discourage folks from trapping these cats?

Answer: The Hawaiian Humane Society says it instituted the new stray cat pickup fee in July because of continuing cost increases.

"Costs have outpaced donations," explained Jacque LeBlanc, director of community relations.

Because of the economic downturn, the organization had to re-evaluate all its programs and services that are funded "completely by donations," including stray cat pickups.

"Rather than eliminate the program altogether, we have decided to charge a fee, as we believe it's extremely valuable to the community," LeBlanc said. The $25 fee will help cover the cost of gas and staff for the door-to-door service, she said.

She emphasized that it is a pickup fee, not a "cat trap policy." "We encourage people to bring cats to us at no charge," she said.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society will provide traps for a deposit of $100, refundable if the trap is returned in seven days. It also will sell traps.

Question: I visit Kahala Mall several times a week and often find people smoking in areas where it is illegal to smoke. To make matters worse, the mall has placed trash receptacles with sand pits/ashtrays where you cannot legally smoke. I have spoken to security officers who said it's a gray area whether it's OK to smoke near the elevator fronting Whole Foods. I have written to mall management asking about this, and they have never replied. I have even called the security office to report smoking violations but never observed security asking illegal smokers to stop. Isn't it illegal to smoke in enclosed or covered areas or within 20 feet of doorways?

Answer: The only legal area for smoking at Kahala Mall is in the open parking areas, at least 20 feet from any doorway, window or exhaust intake.

Trash receptacles are not meant to designate a smoking area, a mall management spokesman said. They're meant for smokers walking into the mall to dispose of their cigarettes, instead of tossing them into the trash can or ground.

He also said security guards do ask smokers to extinguish their cigarettes or move to a more appropriate area.

"There are no designated (smoking) areas, but they can walk into the parking areas away from the covered parking," he said.

He also said smokers are asked to stay away from the elevators because of complaints that the smoke was going into the elevators.

Asked if smoking at the mall was a problem, he said, "It's a constant battle to try to make everybody happy — the smokers and nonsmokers."

MAHALO

To Chris, who freed me from my second-floor balcony after I accidentally locked myself out. I was sweeping the floor on my balcony when I closed the sliding door. The latch caught, locking me out of my townhouse. For more than two hours, I yelled for help to neighbors and motorists to no avail. I then saw Chris walking his dog. I yelled, "Call 911, I'm stuck on my balcony!" He asked if I needed help unlocking my door. Luckily, I had the key to the front door and threw it to him, allowing him access to the sliding door. If not for him, I don't know how long I would've been locked out. — R.B.


Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.






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