Thursday, September 12, 2013

Musings: One Thing Leads to Another

One question not raised in the discussion on dog license fees is how many more dogs the Kauai Humane Society will end up killing because their owners can't or won't pay the impound fees and penalties.

Under the bill approved yesterday by the County Council, KHS now has the authority to take your unlicensed dog from your yard, even if you are standing right there, impound it and kill it after 48 hours if you don't come up with the $35 to $80 for a license and associated penalties. If the dog is in jail longer than two days, a $12-per-day boarding fee will be tacked on.

Though many people, including Councilman Ross Kagawa, get a lot of love and comfort from their dogs, others are more ambivalent. While they wouldn't necessarily turn their pets in to the shelter, they will use cost as an excuse for not bailing them out. 

It's unclear how KHS will use its new powers, which have the potential to greatly alienate the public. KHS Director Penny Cistaro  told The Garden Island that they're expecting to raise $100,000 to $120,000 in the next nine months from licensing, board and impound fees:

We will be more proactive,” she said. “We will be sending out renewal notices when licenses expire and we will be more active with how we are getting people to license their animals.”

Let's hope they start with a convenient licensing process, an education campaign and a light touch. Because as a dog-loving friend said recently, what value do I get from a dog license? If it's to support KHS, haven't I done my part already by adopting a stray?

Since we're talking about nonprofits, MidWeek columnist Bob Jones reports that the state Attorney General's office has ordered Kauai Independent Food Bank to repay the state $50,000 for improper use of SNAP (food stamp) funds. This is in addition to the $779,000 that KIFB had to repay the federal government. Though former executive director Judy Lenthall resigned in the wake of the scandal, the same Board of Directors still reigns.

Fortunately, the Hawaii Food Bank opened a Kauai Branch, which now provides virtually all of the food that is distributed to the hungry on this island. Just something to keep in mind during September, which is Hunger Awareness Month. Food donations can be taken to the HFB-Kauai warehouse, which is located in the Puhi Industrial Park, just down the road from Mark's Place. (482-2224) A major need is rice.

Speaking of food, a new study finds the practice of feeding bees high fructose corn syrup could be contributing to colony collapse. Commercial beekeepers typically take all the high-value honey produced by their bees, which are trucked around to pollinate crops, and feed them low-cost corn syrup instead.

Honey is packed with all sorts of good stuff, so corn syrup is obviously not a nutritional equivalent — even though research from the 1970s indicated the practice was safe. Now, however, entomologists are finding the syrup-fed bees appear to have compromised immune systems that inhibit their ability to ward off the toxic effects of pesticides and pathogens:

Specifically, they found that when bees are exposed to the enzyme p-coumaric, their immune system appears stronger—it turns on detoxification genes. P-coumaric is found in pollen walls, not nectar, and makes its way into honey inadvertently via sticking to the legs of bees as they visit flowers.

As a major component of pollen grains, p-coumaric acid is ubiquitous in the natural diet of honey bees and may function as a nutraceutical regulating immune and detoxification processes. The widespread apicultural use of honey substitutes, including high-fructose corn syrup, may thus compromise the ability of honey bees to cope with pesticides and pathogens and contribute to colony losses.

The study is careful to say corn syrup itself isn't toxic to bees. But most of it is made from Roundup resistant corn and contains glyphosate residue, which is now being implicated in disrupting critical gut bacteria and suppressing detoxification enzymes. So that certainly warrants some looking into.

While we're on the topic of Roundup, House Republications have slipped an extension of the Monsanto Protection Act into the spending bill designed to avert a government shutdown. As the Huffington Post reports:

Since its quiet passage, the Monsanto Protection Act has become a target of intense opposition. The law effectively prevents judges from placing injunctions on genetically modified seeds even if they are deemed unsafe.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley has vowed to oppose it:

"I will fight the House's efforts to extend this special interest loophole that nullifies court orders that are protecting farmers, the environment, and public health."

But Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the panel doesn't expect the Senate to balk at the inclusion of the Monsanto provision. "We have received no indication that this is a concern," she said.

Really? None at all?


Anonymous said...

And Joan, what about Matson stating there's nothing they can do about the molasses spill killing the reef fish in Honolulu Harbor and the future adverse affect that could manifest.
"Nothing" they can do? Really?

Anonymous said...

If Matson can't do anything........ up the penalty from $50k to $1B!!!!!!!!!!!
Really $50k is nothing for Matson!!

Anonymous said...

“There are ecological damages that we can recover for and the spiller will be liable for the cost of restoration of the ecosystem, which could be millions of dollars,” Fry said.

Matson is already facing state fines of up to $25,000 a day for violating the Clean Water Act. It will likely be months before the investigations and fines are known.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Gary and Tim can introduce a bill banning commercial freight shippers(Matson)from transporting molasses into Hawaii until an EIS is performed. Then we can have a march down Rice Street to intimidate Joanne and Nadine. The bill could pass at the same time as 2491 and we can all live happily ever after. Geez!

Anonymous said...

There are about 8 cats and 3 dogs destroyed at Kauai Humane Society, on average, every single DAY. More than half of the dogs/puppies and more than 80% of the cats/kittens that go in the front doors at KHS never come out again.

And killing them doesn't fix the problem of pet overpopulation, because the ones showing up at the humane society are only the overflow from a massive population of breeding animals on the island. It's a tragedy and an outrage, and the only way to solve the problem is spay and neuter. But it has to be a large effort, in one breeding cycle (before one animal waiting to be spayed produces six more to be fixed - every breeding cycle, the problem multiplies), and no organization has yet stepped forward to be the leader of such an effort.

KHS is distracted with financial problems and has never seemed interested in game-changing intervention. The one other pet charity currently operating on island (Kauai Feral) is in dire need of volunteers and is stretched far too thin.
Meanwhile, pet owners blithely just never get around to having their pets fixed, giveaway kittens and puppies have more giveaway kittens and puppies, and runaway pets produce litter after litter of feral animals. Maybe one in five of those gets rounded up annually and killed. In which case, in five years or so, there are deaths equivalent to the entire current population, but it just goes on and on.

It's more than a single ongoing problem, though, for each homeless pet that's going to die at the shelter tomorrow. Each one of them has never died before.

KHS just this year raised their fee for their spay/neuter services, and no other organization is helping. $40-$60 each might not be so bad for a pet owner, especially since there's a sliding scale for financial hardship; but it shuts down efforts to really get at the root of the problem, those people who'd like to trap hundreds of feral cats for trap-neuter-return, or good Samaritans who found a litter of kittens under their porch from a stray, and would like to get them all fixed before they go to new homes, to prevent contributing to a new cycle of kittens under porches. As for the hunters with 30 or more dogs, there should be an incentive to get those animals fixed, at a reasonable cost.

But the people take the path of least resistance, and it's the animals that pay the price.

Anonymous said...

Spay-neuter needs to be free. Kauai vets resisted previous attempts by KHS to start free s-n clinic because it cuts into their business.

Anonymous said...

Can we see what the salaries of KHS employees are? I want to see if the top is heavy and Cistaro is pulling a Sachinni on the county.

If Honolulu operates at 2 million and Kauai cannot operate at 750k then there's something wrong. Kauai's pop is 68k- Oahu pop is 1 million.

Can anyone show us what Maui and the Big Island humane societies operate at?

This might be another food bank scandal.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:56 - KHS used to spay/neuter for "free." It was a requirement of an annual $65,000 spay/neuter grant from the County that they weren't allowed to charge for spay/neuter, and they scheduled surgery appointments typically 4 days every week (Tues-Friday).

But I refer to it as "free" rather than actually free, because KHS tacked on a microchip requirement, which was $5 per animal in 2005, then it rose to $6 each, then up again to $10. Still an okay price, if only there were more promotion and organization behind getting the animals in for the surgery (and more publicity and less stonewalling, as some pet owners who called were told to go to their own vet and not bother KHS; and more accommodations for working people, who can't necessarily make the drive to drop a pet off between 8 and 10 AM and then pick it up again between 3 and 5 PM on a weekday).

But the new shelter director asked the Council to remove the no-charge-for-spay/neuter requirement this fiscal year, starting August 1, and the Council apparently obliged. KHS promptly started charging much more than they had done previously, a change that can't be good for the overpopulation problem (they still offer surgery appointments 4 days a week, but it costs more).

However, it's a tough situation, because the previous KHS director didn't ask for an increase in the amount that the County would fund (saying that she wanted to get used to her new job for a year before asking for an increase - then after a year she left), even though there was a known quarter-million-dollar shortfall.

So the current director walked into a situation where the reserve funds were already depleted. I don't agree with getting the funds by charging so much for spay/neuter, but also recognize that just like the YMCA, they can't keep operating at a loss forever.

Anonymous 11:48 - It isn't the size of the human population that drives a shelter's operating costs, it's size of the homeless pet population, plus the range of services that the shelter provides. Costs for everything are also higher on Kauai than Oahu (supplies, fuel, electricity, vehicles, phone service, groundskeeping services, staff pay has to be higher due to the cost of living differential; you name it, it costs more here).

The KHS facility contains a Red Cross hurricane/emergency shelter for people, as well as a separate emergency sheltering facility for pets.

Their financial statements are public as a 501(c)3 and I don't think anyone's bringing in an appallingly large salary.

I'd like to see a comparison between the "save rates" for the public shelters on the different islands ("save rate" is the percentage of each species of animal that gets claimed or adopted, instead of killed), and to know whether any of them has save rates that have been improving from one year to the next. That would give some idea whether any one of the islands has a system in place that should be emulated by the rest.

We do have the advantage, being on an island, that if we can get canine and feline populations under control here, it's more permanent than in large continental places where new animal populations can migrate in from a neighboring county. But we're not going to get there by just keeping on with the status quo.

Andy Parx said...

This is an outrage. No policing operation should be funded by the fees it charges, especially fees derived from actual enforcement actions. It would be like if amount in the budget of the police department were dependent on the number of people they arrested- do you think the number of arrests would go up? Same thing goes for any administrative departments but ESPECIALLY police.

Anonymous said...

Andy, you are right that this should not be allowed, but many police departments keep ALL of the "asset forfeiture" they confiscate from simply alleging - yes, simply alleging - no conviction required, thank you very much - that money came from an alleged illegal activity -no due process whatsoever. One could drive down the street on their way to buy something with cash to go buy a used car, and that's it, it's seized, usually permanently. The New Yorker had a truly eye-opening article recently, called 'Taken" on how this completely unconstitutional seizure has been allowed to happen every day. It is just mind-blowing that this happens.

Anonymous said...

A police state is but a few short steps away.

Anonymous said...

The Over Population of dogs and cats has been a chronic problem on this island of Kauai……..for many years. I came to Kauai in 1986, and there was a large problem then. What is causing the overpopulation of pets?
1.) People who cannot afford, are too un-informed, do not care, have religious or philosophical reasons not to, who are generally negligent, lack respect for animals and tend to dump puppies and kittens in fields behind big box stores.

2.) People who can afford to spay or neuter, but decide that they MUST have a “reproduction” or “copy” of the dog they have now…… they have a “duplicate” when the mother or father dies. The dog is bred and has 6 or more puppies. (Where are the homes?) There are NOT ENOUGH homes for ALL the animals being born, feral or in people’s backyards…..DAILY.

3.) People who want to breed dogs for money and continue to operate small-time puppy mills.

4.) Undermanned and Underfunded Kauai Humane Society which cannot expand services as the animal population of the island rises along with the human population who place unrealistic demands upon the organization. Very difficult to run, manage, control, and fun raise They NEED HELP.

5.) Lack of enforcement of puppy mills, animal neglect, and over breeding ofdogs and cats, licensing, and other illegal activities by KPD and/ or KHS with the support of KPD

6.) Lack of good marketing methods through which the overpopulation problem is acknowledged, and spay centers are advertised.

7.) Lack of an effective educational programs for the public, literature, or PSA’s on Radio and TV

8.) Lack of support from National, and Local Veterinary Medical Associations

9.) Veterinarians and KHS do not have a good working relationship.

10.) Lack of Better Discounted rates for Spa y and Neuter Program (to the people who need help the most (#1) In general, veterinarians deserve to be paid well for their good skills and proper treatments They put their time in studying and work hard to keep your pets well, and the surgery outcomes successful. .

Veterinarians will have to quit worrying about competing for spays with the humane societies..
We have an “epidemic”……and we as a whole are NOT getting the job done. The problem is over whelming and we need help from the outside. (Such as visiting vets who are qualified and skilled to come spend 2 weeks working spay and neuter clinic, and surfing)

We have to think “outside the box”
The Other idea is: to have another Spay and Neuter Clinic on the North Shore (Kilauea)

11.) Perhaps more reasons, but I cannot think of anymore.

As you can see, this is a complex problem that needs complex solutions with more participation from the community. It will NOT be solve by increasing PENALTIES. (That paradigm does not work@!)
It will not work to Exterminate feral cat colonies and continue the killing at shelters if we do not handle # 1 to #10.
People need to be inspired to Spay, not Punished and have to PAY.

Ihor Basko, DVM.CVA

Anonymous said...

After 48 hours they can sell the dog. For lab experiments?

Anonymous said...

I think there needs to be an investigation in KHS practices, procedures, accounting, and abilities.

I believe something sinister is behind this new 700-800% Tax that are applying to the dog owners of Kauai.

This bill is discriminatory, how about the cats, birds, aquaponic fishes, shrimp, cattle, cock fighting birds, pigs, rabbits, and whatever they can tax and get money to increase their salaries and expenditures.

Anonymous said...

Guess the GMO company's over spraying and wind drift of poison has no effect on the reproduction of the little critters hun?

Anonymous said...

Imagine if the county treated TVR's like the Humane Society. The county would have the ability to appear at anyone's house, if they find an illegal TVR, remove the house, if the owner does not pay the finds, it gets destroyed. Nice. Why don't property owners have rights when it comes to dogs?

Anonymous said...

You always have property rights, the 4th amendment still stands.
Many politicos want to dilute this amendment and if if any place can do it, it is Hawaii..............

Anonymous said...

Let's see the 990 forms for Hawaii Seed/GMO Free Kauai. How are they spending all the $ they're bringing in?

Anonymous said...

9:06 PM -- I would like to hear from KHS if they are going to sell animals for lab experiments.

Anonymous said...

Joan, please check into the Costa family. They have rentals in Hanalei but claim it as residentials. Also, the mayor has 2 rentals on his property but pay residential taxes. Hmmm what is up witb that?

Anonymous said...

1. Do you have a citation for your claim that glyphosate residues are in the corn syrup?

2. While the paper by Seneff could be an impetus to look into the claims, the paper itself does not support the dramatic claims that it makes and is an outlier to the scientific consensus on glyphosate. You can find one scientist claiming that the world is flat, only 6,000 years old or denying global warming. This does not mean that their positions should be taken seriously.