About Our Humane Enforcement Officers
Maui Humane Society’s Humane Enforcement Officers are highly trained, dedicated professionals who are committed to public safety and animal protection. Our officers are available to the community 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, acting not only as law enforcers, but also as educators and facilitators to pet owners all over the island.
Pursuant to State and County statutes, our officers have the same authority and powers as a police officer to issue citations in the event animal regulations and laws are violated. Our Humane Officers help rescue Maui’s pets by doing everything from pulling trapped kittens out of drainpipes to returning pets directly from the field to their families. They are members of your community, they are animal lovers and they are here to help you be the best pet owner you can be!
You can help ensure the safety and care of Maui’s animals. If you witness a violation to any of these laws, you can report the incident online.
Maui County Animal Laws
Maui County regulations have been passed to ensure the humane treatment of Maui’s pets and the safety of our community. Restraint regulations protect public safety, as well as your pet from any number of unpredictable dangers. Pet licensing regulations ensure the return of your lost pet, and regulations regarding excessive barking and waste pick-up help to maintain a positive relationship between pet owners and their neighbors.
We’ve put together this guide to help provide you with the information you need to be a compliant citizen, a considerate neighbor, a responsible pet owner and a positive force in your community.
About Maui County Animal Regulations
Maui County animal regulations help to ensure the humane treatment of Maui’s pets and the safety of our community. Restraint regulations protect public safety, as well as your pet, from any number of unpredictable dangers. Pet licensing regulations ensure the return of your lost pet, and regulations regarding excessive barking and waste pick-up help to maintain a positive relationship between pet owners and their neighbors. This guide is designed to provide you with the information you need to be a compliant citizen, a considerate neighbor, a responsible pet owner and a positive force in your community.
Maui County Code 6.04.020 requires that all dogs over the age of 4 months be currently licensed. This includes indoor dogs, dogs that are kenneled or fenced, and dogs that “never” leave your property. Dog licenses must be current, clearly visible and worn by your dog at all times. Dog licenses are not transferable from one owner to the next or from one dog to another. A current Maui County pet license valid for two years can be purchased at Maui Humane Society or your local DMV and is your pet’s ticket home should he or she stray or become lost. The licensing fee for an unaltered dog is $76, and only $11 with proof that the animal has been spayed or neutered.
Owning or harboring an unlicensed dog carries a maximum penalty of $500.
Remember: pet licenses must be renewed every 2 years with your most current phone number and address updated. If your contact information changes at any time, be sure to let us know so that we can update our records.
“Am I required to license my cat?”
You are not legally required to license your cat. However, ID tags or a microchip for your cat will greatly increase the odds that your cat will be returned to you in the event that he or she strays or becomes lost.
Restraint (Leash Laws)
Dogs that are allowed to run loose are at great risk of becoming lost, injured, or killed. In addition, a loose dog can be a nuisance or threat to people and other animals.
Maui County Code 6.04.040 requires that your dog be under restraint at all times by way of a fully enclosed yard, kennel or similar structure, or inside your residence. If you do not have a fully enclosed yard or suitable enclosure, your dog must be leashed. If your dog is tethered, you must not tether with prong, pinch or choke chains. On property other than the owners’, a dog must be secured on a leash of not more than ten feet in length and a responsible person must hold the leash. This includes all beaches and parks in Maui County.
“My dog is not aggressive. Why should I restrain him/her?”
Restraining your dog doesn’t just keep your community safe from your dog, it keeps your dog safe from your community! Restrained dogs will remain close to you and under your supervision in the event that another animal becomes hostile or aggressive toward them. It also prevents them from getting into or eating things that may be very harmful to their health.
Do I need to restrain my dog at an established dog park?
You are not required to restrain your dog at established dog parks.However, you must obey the rules posted at these establishments.
Do I need to restrain my dog if he is riding in the bed of my truck?
Yes. If your dog is travelling in the back of an open pickup truck, he or she must be cross-tethered or confined in a kennel to prevent the dog from climbing or falling out of the truck bed.
Failure to keep a dog properly restrained carries a maximum penalty of $500.
Abuse & Neglect
Maui County code 6.04.040 requires that pet owners provide their animal with sufficient care to preserve their health and well-being. “Sufficient care” includes, but is not limited to the following requirements:
- Food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth or maintenance of body weight.
- Open or adequate access to potable water in sufficient quantity to satisfy the animal’s needs.
- Access to suitable shelter sufficient to protect the animal from wind, rain or sun with adequate bedding to protect from wet and dampness. This may be natural or man-made.
- Veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person to relieve distress from injury, neglect or disease.
- Adequate space for exercise necessary for the health of the animal consistent with prudent animal care practices and access to a dry, elevated place for the animal to rest.
- If confined, confinement area must maintain an air temperature suitable for the animal involved and the animal must be able to stand up, turn around and lay down without touching other animals or the edges of the area. The area must be kept reasonably clean and free from excess waste or other contaminants which could affect the animal’s health.
If you cannot provide the above care for your pet, you are responsible for finding them an adequate home, or surrendering them to Maui Humane Society.
Failure to provide an animal with sufficient care carries a maximum penalty of $500. Should the neglect of an animal be severe or chronic, the owner can be charged with Cruelty to Animals which is a felony offense and carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and up to 5 years in prison.
Reporting Abuse & Neglect
One phone call could save an animal from a life of suffering. Be the voice of the voiceless: report neglect and cruelty immediately. If you witness abuse or neglect, or are concerned about an animal’s well-being, call the Maui Humane Society at (808) 877-3680 ext. 222.
“What’s the difference between neglect and cruelty?”
Neglect is not giving an animal the right food, water, shelter or vet care. More often than not, neglect is unintentional. Animals who are neglected can suffer just as much as animals that are harmed on purpose.
Animal cruelty is the intentional infliction of harm or suffering on an animal. Those who are cruel to animals are very likely to be violent to other people—even their own family—too. 71% of pet-owning women entering women’s shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control them.
Before you call…
Do your best to gather all the information described below.
- detailed description of the animal involved (e.g.- size, hair color, hair length, and possible breed mix)
- detailed information about the location of the event. If there is an address, write it down so that you can relay this information to our call center.
- detailed information about the person or persons involved or present. If you know them, provide their names, address, license number and contact information.
- detailed information about the sequence of events you witnessed.
- If possible, provide photo or video evidence.
Please leave your name and number so we can contact you! This information is STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL and only used to maintain contact with you until the situation is resolved
“I’ve witnessed animal abuse and neglect but I don’t want to cause problems with my neighbor or get anyone in trouble with the law.”
Your call to us is an act of compassion for another living being. If you are concerned about conflict between you and your neighbor, please remember that your report is kept strictly confidential. Any interaction we have with pet owners is intended only to protect the animal’s well-being.
The vast majority of neglect issues can be addressed and amended without needing to issue a citation, so your neighbor will not necessarily be fined or prosecuted. More importantly, your call creates an educational opportunity for a pet owner to learn how to take steps toward being a more responsible caretaker.
Your testimony could save an animal from a life of suffering.
If you have reported animal abuse, we urge you to be willing to testify on behalf of that animal in a court of law. While you are not legally required to disclose your identity, your word might be their only protection and a ticket to a better life.
Stray/ Loose Animals
Our Humane Enforcement Officers respond to calls dealing with stray domesticated animals – this includes dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, pet rats and mice) horses and farm animals, fish, turtles and tortoises. For wildlife issues, please refer to our Humane Enforcement FAQs.
If you see a stray or loose animal, call (808) 877-3680 ext. 222 to report the sighting and help keep this animal out of harm’s way.
Reporting a Stray or Loose Animal
The more information you give us, the more we can do to help. When you call to report a lost or stray animal, provide us with as much information as you possibly can, as soon as you can:
- How many loose dogs you saw, and the exact location you saw them
- Your best description of each animal’s size, hair color, hair length and possible breed mix and any distinguishing features
- Do you know where the dog(s) lives?
- Can you tell us what time you first saw the dog(s) loose?
- If you know the animal’s owner, let us know how to find them. Provide the owner’s address, name and telephone number if you have it.
- Please leave your name and number so we can contact you! This information is strictly confidential. It is only used to maintain contact with you until the situation is resolved.
Reporting a Lost Animal
We’re here to help you keep your pet! If you realize your pet is lost, contact us immediately. File a Lost Report with us as soon as possible – this can be done online, or by calling (808) 877-3680 ext. 3 (be sure to leave your correct name and phone number). Post fliers, notify your neighbors and post on Craigslist. I.D. tags and microchips can also increase your chances of reuniting with your pet.
Barking and Bark Complaints
Barking problems can be very challenging to resolve and can cause great stress and friction in the neighborhood. Don’t let your pet’s barking cause needless hard feelings between you and your neighbors. Instead, take steps to correct your dog’s undesirable habit. Guidance is also available by consulting an obedience trainer or your veterinarian, or Maui Humane Society. If your dog has a barking problem, finding out why will help you to find the appropriate solution.
Maui County Code 6.04.010 defines excessive barking as follows:
“Excessive barking means continuous and/or incessant barking, baying, crying, howling, or any other noise which disturbs any person at any time of day or night for (10) consecutive minutes or intermittently for twenty (20) minutes; provided, however, that barking shall not be deemed excessive if such barking is the result of a trespass or threatened trespass by a person or persons on private property on which the dog is situated or is the result of a person teasing or otherwise provoking the dog.”
Any person convicted of a barking violation shall be fined up to $500 per charge.
Reporting a Bark Complaint
To report barking, a person must first document the barking to prove it violates county law. Download our Barking Dog Complainant Letter for detailed instructions. It is highly recommended you record the barking (either 10 minutes of continuous barking or 20 minutes of intermittent barking) as evidence to support your case. You must provide this information to our Humane Enforcement department by filling out and submitting a Barking Violation Information Form in person to the Maui Humane Society in order for our officers to legally take action.
Upon receiving a documented bark complaint, our Humane Enforcement Officers will try to work with the owner to resolve the situation. This process takes a minimum of three weeks. If this is not effective, the Humane Officer will then fill out a report that is sent to the County Prosecutor’s Office. It is the County Prosecutor’s decision whether or not to issue a fine for excessive barking, not the decision of the Maui Humane Society or its Humane Officers.
“If I report a barking complaint, will the dog be taken away from its owner?”
Dogs are never impounded just for barking complaints. The only circumstances under which we would remove a dog from its home would be if the animal is suffering, in danger, or poses imminent threat to people or animals and proper measures have not been taken by the owner to restrain, rehabilitate and confine the dog. These measures are taken to ensure the SAFETY of all parties involved, both human and animal.
Dog Bites/ Dangerous Dogs
If you experience or witness a dog attack, call us immediately at (808) 877-3680 ext. 222.
For the safety of our community, it is imperative to report every dog bite or aggressive encounter with a dog to the Maui Humane Society. Our Officers will initiate an investigation and take the appropriate action to address the problem. The information you provide helps prevent future occurrences and helps keep your neighborhood safe.
Maui County Code 6.04.040 states “An owner of a dog shall not intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently permit the dog to attack a person or domestic animal; or behave in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an imminent threat of bodily injury to a person or serious injury or death to a domestic animal.”
“My dog has shown aggressive behavior, but hasn’t actually attacked anyone. Is he/she considered a ‘dangerous dog’?”
Not unless a Humane Officer has deemed the dog officially ‘dangerous’. If an officer has probable cause to believe that a dog is dangerous, that officer may give the owner of the dog a written notice that the dog has been deemed a “dangerous dog”, and subject to the conditions of ownership as a dangerous dog (e.g. – mandatory spay/neuter). Maui County Code 6.04.046 outlines special regulations for dangerous dogs. Please visit our website for the complete Maui County code.
If your dog shows aggressive behavior, take steps to train, socialize and rehabilitate your dog. Taking precautionary measures when restraining your dog could prevent a potentially disastrous situation from happening.
Owners of a dog that has been deemed dangerous face a maximum penalty of $1000 and/or 30 days in jail should they fail to comply with the requirements of owning a dangerous dog.
Prevent dog bites by keeping your dog restrained at all times for the safety of both your pet and your community.
Dog-Fighting and Cock-Fighting
“How do blood sports affect people?”
Dog and cock-fighting don’t just hurt animals, they endangers a community’s safety. Illegal drugs and firearms are commonly found at the scene of animal fighting events. Young children brought to matches are desensitized to violence and taught that cruelty is acceptable. Evidence shows that those who have committed bloodsport crimes and other forms of animal abuse are more likely to be violent toward people. According to a three-year study by the Chicago Police Department, 65% (consistency) of people arrested for animal abuse crimes including dog-fighting were also arrested for violent crimes against people.
Dog-fighting is a felony in all 50 states. It is also a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a maximum $25,000 fine.
“What happens in a dog-fight?”
Dogs, usually pit bulls, are bred and trained to fight each other to the death or until one dog can’t continue – all for the amusement of spectators and the profits from high-stakes gambling. Fights can last for hours, as the dogs are trained to continue even after suffering serious wounds. Dogs that can’t fight are abandoned or mercilessly killed by electrocution or gunshot.
Cock-fights are illegal in all 50 states. In the State of Hawaii it is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year of imprisonment and/or a maximum $2000 fine. Cock-fighting with spurs warrants animal cruelty (see page 4).
“What happens in a cock-fight?”
Two or more roosters are put in a ring and forced to fight, and people bet on which bird will win. The birds wear spurs on their legs, intended to inflict maximum damage on its opponent. The actual fight usually lasts until one of the birds dies—which can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to more than 30 minutes.
If you witness a dogfight or cockfight in progress, contact the Maui Police Department immediately. If you suspect dog-fighting or cock-fighting in your neighborhood, contact the Maui Humane Society at (808) 877-3680. Your identity will be kept confidential.
For complete laws, please refer to the links below:
For federal legislation, regulations and guidelines regarding companion animals, visit the USDA Animal Welfare Information Center.
For Maui County legislation, regulations and guidelines regarding companion animals, please refer to Title 6 of the Maui County municipal code.
Still can’t find the information you’re looking for? Call our Humane Enforcement department at (808) 877-3680 ext. 222 and our Humane Officers will do their best to help you find answers to your questions.