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Hawaii Community Advocates for Stronger Protections Against Negligent Dog Owners


Hawaii Island will address a county resolution to impose stricter penalties for negligent dog owners next Wednesday, Feb. 21. Many support this resolution as they seek enhancement in safety measures in light of the prevalence of roaming or tethered dogs outside ramshackle properties. Moreover, local laws in Hawaii County regarding some dog breeds lack affiliation with state laws. 

Leaders in Hawaii County pushing for more stringent enforcement of rules against negligent dog owners

A county resolution on Hawaii Island aims to address concerns regarding certain dog owners’ negligence, with supporters advocating for stricter penalties, as KITV Island News reports. Areas like Ocean View and some parts of the Puna district frequently observe neglected dogs that are either roaming or tethered to rundown houses. 

Following an attack by a neighboring dog, 71-year-old Robert Northrop tragically passed away in Ocean View. The county council believed they had implemented a robust law for charging the accountable people with an offense. 

Council member Jenn Kagiwada said, “But when we talked to the prosecuting attorneys and asked what’s going on with this case, they said, well, actually, the state does not have a similar law, and so we’re not able to prosecute under this county law.”

Due to this, Shannon Matson, Northrop’s daughter, expressed frustration over how authorities have prolonged justice for her father’s death.

Thus, the county will consider a resolution aimed at pushing forward bills in the state legislature. One will focus on certain dog breeds, and the other seeks to strengthen penalties related to negligence. 

Kagiwada stated, “I put forward a resolution that basically says our county fully supports the state legislation changing their laws in order to catch up with ours.”

Additionally, Matson and her sister have shown their support for the resolution by testifying before the council. 

The sisters are hopeful that the county prosecuting attorney will pursue charges in the case of their father’s death. However, Matson thinks that the state legislation will offer justice and accountability for future attacks, which will allow families to get help from the law in such cases. 


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