HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Animal rights activists are calling on Hawaii lawmakers to strengthen the state's dog tethering regulations.

The activists are supporting legislation that would create an animal cruelty charge for chaining a dog for more than 24 hours on a tie shorter than 10 feet. It would also require chained dogs to have access to water and shade and prevent owners from chaining dogs younger than six months, The Hawaii Tribune Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2nEvVdE).

Angie Ali, the head of a Puna-based animal rescue, said the newly proposed dog tethering amendments were brought forward by state Rep. Cindy Evans. Ali said she reached out to the lawmaker after previous efforts to address dog tethering laws in the Legislature failed.

The bill says chaining dogs for an extended period of time is "cruel and inhumane" and can cause animals to become more anxious and aggressive. Placing restrictions on the practice will cut down on the number of dog attack incidents, according to the legislation.

"Chaining dogs is a safety hazard for people — they are more likely to bite," Ali said. " . There are more states now adopting (animal cruelty) laws like wildfire. When it's time, it's time, and it's time we're not going to have any more mauled children or any more of those things. It's time for Hawaii to be next."

The legislation primarily focuses on animal cruelty protections for Hawaii's indigenous birds, but Ali said Evans agreed to add the dog tethering language to the bill earlier this year.

Hawaii lawmakers had proposed several bills this year aimed at bolstering dog tethering laws, but none passed.

The bill has been referred to two House committees. As of Friday, no hearings had been scheduled.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/