Though the Kauai Humane Society is putting a positive spin on the new dog barking and cat licensing laws — for cats, “their status in the community has risen,” writes director Penny Cistaro in a commentary in today's paper — I don't think most folks are buying it.
The reactions I've been getting are “waste of time” and “ridiculous,” along with “unenforceable.” Others view it as a money-making scheme and/or power grab by KHS, and legislative craziness by sponsor Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura.
A better approach might have been addressing dog barking through a comprehensive noise ordinance, as Councilman Mel Rapozo favored. Why should dogs be considered more of a nuisance than boom-box vehicles, rooster ranches, screaming kids, mowers and blowers, helicopters?
The bill initially included a provision in which the unhappy person had to first speak to his or her neighbor, and keep a log of the offending barking, which would've cut down on complaints and forced people to humanize someone they've likely demonized. But that apparently got deleted. Now it's a vague: “Unsuccessful remediation of the nuisance barking following intervention by the Enforcement Officer may result in the issuance of a citation.”
Violations will result in increasingly more expensive fines, but you can't just pay the fine and be done with it:
The issuance of a barking dog citation and/or payment of a fine shall not bar the Court from imposing appropriate remedial action to be undertaken by the responsible party, such as, but not limited to, successful completion of a dog behavioral course or the hiring of a dog trainer.
Good luck with that. I think, as Councilman Ross Kagawa noted, that we're going to see more clashes between neighbors as a result of this law, with hunting dog owners the first to be targeted by those who object more to their use than their barking. I also think we're going to see more dogs turned in, and ultimately killed, because their owners can't comply with the law.
As for the cats, yes, they should be viewed as highly as dogs, but their perceived lack of value likely has something to do with their abundance. It's sort of like a dove, as compared to a Newell's shearwater. Better to emphasize education, and reduce the feral population, than adopt a law that is likely to be followed only by those who already do value their feline companions.
But such is the nature of Kauai, where the politicians skirt the serious issues and instead focus on cats and dogs, some citizens cry for ever more regulation and in the end, it's all meaningless, because enforcement is essentially nil.
Which leads me to a great quote by Marcus Aurelius: “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
Which leads me to a comment that someone left on yesterday's post:
Joan, on a totally different matter, I was watching one of the council meetings recently on Hoike. it seems that nothing has changed as far as Ken, Glenn, and Joe are concerned. Why do they feel they need to continually scold or lecture the council members on every subject matter that the council discusses? They seem to feel that they are experts on every subject. Also, why do they always sit where they can be seen on tv? I guess for them it is the closest thing to being a council member when you are not electable. What a waste of time and taxpayer!s money to hear and see these Yoyos whine at every meeting. They should give tus a break and get a life.
As another reader noted in an email to me:
If anyone thinks marathon council meetings produce good governance they’re nuts – and these 3 are responsible for lengthening Council meetings by 30 percent. Council is also to blame, they could tighten up rules for testimony – under Sunshine Law they're not required to allow testimony on every agenda item, I believe.
I appreciate the accessibility of our Council, and it's great that they don't have to be told, like the Hawaii County Council, that folks have the free speech right to criticize them in public testimony. But surely Council Chair Jay Furfaro could find a way to stuff a sock in it when it comes to ad-nauseum nit-picker testimony. And then maybe his colleagues would also learn the value of being succinct — or better yet, silent.