Dog problems in Waimea

For a west Kaua’i resident, the Kaua’i County Council’s passage of the dangerous dog ordinance isn’t going to help him much.

The man would rather have the Kaua’i Police Department or the Kauai Humane Society enforce the county’s leash law.

Because unleashed dogs roam around his neighborhood in Waimea from 5 to 9 a.m. daily, triggering nearly-constant barking by 11 dogs a neighbor keeps in his yard, the man says he has not had a full night’s sleep in the five years he has lived in the neighborhood.

The dogs have attacked him and others, he contended, scattering only after they have been beaten off.

The presence of the loose dogs has created a public nuisance and hazard, creating a climate of fear and lowering the quality of life in the neighborhood for all, the man contends.

He said he called the humane society 11 times this year about the lack of leash law enforcement, but the problem remains.

“They told me to put in a trap, video tape the dogs or call the police,” he said.

And the man, who asked not to be identified, said he won’t call police because he is concerned his complaint will create conflicts in the neighborhood.

But his problem could be alleviated if he called the police or was more insistent in calling the humane society for help, say Kaua’i police department assistant chief Clayton Arinaga and Dr. Rebecca Rhoades, DVM, who heads the Kauai Humane Society.

The man said the root of his problem is 11 dogs that are kept by his neighbor. Whenever people drive by his neighbor’s house or dogs roam by, the dogs go into a barking frenzy.

The barking starts at 5 a.m. when another neighbor leaves his home and drives off, leaving his dog to roam the neighborhood, triggering howling and barking by the 11 dogs.

At 6 a.m., another neighbor leaves for work, allowing his two dogs to roam the neighborhood, triggering another round of barking by the 11 dogs.

At 7 a.m., another neighbor leaves the area to drive his grandchildren to work, again provoking the 11 dogs to howl and bark.

“I don’t blame the (11) dogs for barking. I blame the guys who let their dogs run free in the neighborhood.”

He said all he is asking for “is having the people restrain their dogs from midnight to 9 a.m. That way working people like me can sleep.”

The man said he has not called the police partly because it seems police officers are more likely to respond to more serious crimes than leash law violations.

Not so, says Arinaga. “The officers site for leash law violations,” he said. “If the dogs are on public property and they aren’t leashed, then the police will take appropriate action.”

Arinaga also said that “they (people with complaints) should be calling the (police) dispatch if they (the dogs ) are bothering them.”

“If he doesn’t get satisfaction from the Kauai Humane Society, the option is for him to call the police,” Arinaga said.

The man said he called the humane society has not been helpful when he called for help.

Rhoades said “we regularly patrol neighborhoods” for stray dogs or unleashed dogs and that the humane society welcomes calls from the man and others with concerns about unleashed dogs or strays.

“I don’t know the specific area (where the man has voiced complaints about loose dogs),” Rhoades said. “But we pick up loose dogs” in Waimea neighborhoods “all the time.”

Animal control officers are out “seven days a week, island-wide,” she said.

High population areas like Kapa’a and Lihu’e generate most of the complaints about unleashed dogs, but the humane society staffers patrol less populated neighborhoods as well, Rhoades said.

She said the humane society may have already cited the owners of the dogs that have run around the Waimea neighborhood unleashed.

“If people are not happy with the response, I will hear about it,” she said. ” And I haven’t.” She said that if “he is not happy with the response, have him call me (at 632-0610).”

Citing violators of the leash law is challenging, Rhoades said.

“We don’t see (the loose) dogs, and so we ask people to follow the dogs home … try to identify the owners,” she said.

To help the humane society follow through on complaints, people are asked take pictures of the roaming dogs, Rhoades said.

People also can sign a statement confirming a violation, she said. That document can be used later in a court case against alleged violators.

The strays the man has complained about may be hunting dogs from hunting forays in west Kaua’i, Rhoades said. Those dogs are usually picked up by their hunters though, she added.

The strays that are picked up by animal control officers are caught with humane traps, Rhoades said.

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