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Why do we need dog parks?
Dog parks are needed in our community for several important reasons. First, there is no question that dogs are a part of our community. Surveys have revealed that over 40% of Oahu's households have at least one dog.

Second, dogs have an inherent need for regular exercise and socialization. The single most important factor in making dogs friendly and well-behaved is frequent interaction with both people and other dogs. There is an abundance of research available from humane organizations and animal behaviorists showing that dogs who do not have outlets for their physical and mental energy may become nuisance barkers, escape artists, or develop other destructive behaviors.

Dogs who are continually locked up or chained up and isolated, are more likely to become aggressive and a risk to the community. For this reason and other reasons, dog parks benefit those who don't have dogs as well as those who do.

Third, we believe that as dog parks become more readily available in all districts of the island, the city will benefit from an increase in dog license revenues, which will help to offset the cost of dog parks. Currently only about 23% of Oahu's dogs are licensed. IF EVERY dog on Oahu were licensed, the city would gain about one million dollars PER YEAR from dog license fees - enough to pay the maintenance costs on dog parks all across Oahu.

Fourth, dog parks will reduce the frequency of dog owners using other public places where they are not legally permitted, such as no-dogs-allowed parks and public school grounds.

There are intangible benefits as well. Dog parks improve the quality of life for dog owners as well as for their dogs, they promote a healthy lifestyle for people and pets, they add to our sense of community, and they help to promote responsible dog ownership.

Where does the City stand on dog parks?
The 2001 revised Honolulu City and County ordinances authorize the Department of Parks & Recreation Director to designate public parks for use as off-leash dog parks. To date, DPR has opened a dog park in Moanalua, one in Mililani and its most recent dog park, the Hawaii Kai Dog Park, was the first one built through a public-private partnership.  Oahu also has two privately-run dog parks that are open to the public. That's a total of five parks serving the entire island of Oahu, with a population of over 250,000 dogs.  It is simply not enough. Dog parks are especially needed in urban areas where there aren't a lot of open spaces.

Hawaii's dog owners represent over one third of our island population, a large constituency. Pet owners in Hawaii spend over $90 million a year on pet-related expenses such as food, supplies, veterinarians, groomers, etc. We make a large contribution to Hawaii's tax base and we are entitled to have access to at least a small portion of City and State public spaces.  Hui Ilio Hawaii, and other groups like us, will continue to promote public dog parks until all dog owners have easy access to places where their dogs can run and play.

 

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