Maui News

MAUI RALLY AGAINST PROPOSED PIT BULL BAN

February 7, 2009, 2:39 PM HST
* Updated February 9, 8:14 AM
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Rally Organizer, Regina Ursua (right) speaks out against proposed pit bull ban.  Photo by Wendy OSHER © 2009

Rally Organizer, Regina Ursua (right) speaks out against proposed pit bull ban. Photo by Wendy OSHER © 2009

(Story & Photos by Wendy Osher © 2009)

More than 150 people showed up at a rally in front of the Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului this afternoon to voice their opposition to a proposed pit bull ban in the state of Hawaii.

Senate Bill 79 was introduced by Colleen Hanabusa on January 23rd and was referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary and Government Operations.

The measure calls for a ban on ownership, possession and sale of pit bulls, making violations punishable as a misdemeanor offense.

Regina Ursua, the owner of Pure Breed Kennels on Maui, and organizer of today’s rally, called the bill too broad arguing against the inclusion of all bully breeds.

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“I think the way the bill was written, it’s too wide. If the bill were to pass, the Humane Society would come to your house, and they would have the authority to say weather or not that is a pit bull. Who are they to say this is a pit bull? Define for me a pit bull. And then in the bill, it also states not only for American Pit Bull Terriers, it’s for American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull Terriers-Anything that’s considered the “bully” breed…and that’s just not right,” said Ursua

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While attacks have been reported around the state, Ursua said the solution is not an outright ban.

“The reason for today’s rally is for SB 79-A bill for an act trying to ban pit bulls in Hawaii. So all of us pit bull breeders, owners, people that don’t even own pit bulls that just feel like the law should not be passed, they’re out here trying to get support from the community so that way we can keep our dogs,” said Ursua.

“We know that there’s a problem out there with some dogs, but don’t blame the dogs, blame those irresponsible owners. Pit bulls attack when dogs are loose-we know our dogs aren’t supposed to be loose. We just feel like they shouldn’t ban all pit bulls, they should just become stricter with those owners who don’t know how to take care of their dogs responsibly,” said Ursua.

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Usua owns one of 17 kennels on Maui whose operations consist of breeding dogs. She is also a member of the Hawaii Strongest Dog Competition, a Distributor for the American Bully Kennel Shop and a Member of the Rough Riders Dog Division.

“A bill has been passed in a certain part of Denver, Miami-there are a few states that have it, but we’re definitely going to make sure that we don’t become one of them,” said Ursua.

(Complete text of the bill can be found at the following link:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2009/Bills/SB79_.HTM)

(Current status of the bill is posted at the following link:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2009/lists/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=79)

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