Kokua Line Thomas Square signs soon will say leashed dogs OK By June Watanabe Aug. 27, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Question: We recently were asked by a police officer to leave Thomas Square with our leashed dogs, because the sign says, "No Animals." He said he had received a complaint and wouldn’t write any citations that day, but if we returned he would have to cite us. The city Department of Parks and Recreation lists the park as an on-leash dog park, with dogs permitted off-leash during permitted obedience training and trials. Thomas Square has been used for dog training and events for decades. Can the signs be changed? Answer: Despite the city allowing dogs at Thomas Square Park, signs around the perimeter of the park have said, "No Animals." Based on your complaint, the signs will be changed this week, the Parks Department said Monday. It took nearly a month for the department to respond, but it confirmed that dogs on leashes are allowed at Thomas Square Park. Dogs also are allowed off-leash at the park for obedience training and dog shows, with a permit. New decals saying dogs on leashes are allowed were to be added to all the signs around the park by week’s end. The list of dog-friendly parks can be found at the end of the Parks Department’s rules on dogs in public parks at bit.ly/1rybOtW. They also can be found more easily on the Hawaiian Humane Society website, bit.ly/1tafMIY. Section 19-5-5 of the department’s rules on "Leash Parks" says, "These areas shall be identified by appropriate signs at the parks or areas within parks wherein leashed dogs are permitted." While in the park, handlers are required to be at least 18 years of age and must carry "equipment" for the removal and disposal of dog poop and are responsible for disposing of the poop. They also must "have control and custody of their dog at all times" and the dog must have a current dog license tag attached to its collar. Question: What is the policy of Kahala Mall regarding pets, dogs especially, in stores and in the mall? Even in Times Super Market at Kahala. I’ve seen pets in Whole Foods, Longs and in the mall. How can you distinguish a service dog? Sorry, but I’m not a lover of pets at shopping malls and stores. Answer: "In matters such as these, Kahala Mall will at all times comply with federal and state law specifically as it relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act and service animals," said General Manager Stephanie England. She did not want to comment further on what has become an increasingly common scene at stores and restaurants. In January, a Kokua Line reader complained about a dog seen licking the table at the food court at Ala Moana Center and defecating at a Walmart (see bit.ly/1t4PvJN). Because of increasing complaints about dog owners taking their pets into retail establishments, the U.S. Justice Department tightened its rules on what a service animal is: primarily dogs (with a small exception for miniature horses) trained to perform tasks for someone with a disability, directly related to the disability; housebroken; and under the control of a handler. There may be psychiatric service dogs for someone with an emotional or psychiatric condition, but just providing emotional support, well-being, comfort or companionship does not make a pet a service animal. The problem is that while an establishment can ask whether a dog is a service animal and exactly what task it is trained to perform, it cannot require proof. However, it can ask that the animal be removed if is not under control of the handler. Mahalo Belatedly to the men who cleaned the Wilson Tunnel. It’s so beautiful. I’m enjoying myself going through the tunnel. Mahalo also to the people who clean up the grass and overgrowth on the side of Likelike Highway. — Appreciative Resident Credit should go to crews with the state Department of Transportation. ——— 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 email@example.com. Previous Story Contractor change delays ambulance service refunds Next Story Wheelchair lift at palace will be kaput till 'late 2015'