Horse put down following Kilauea ranch break-in

Police detained four suspects Thursday in connection with the burglary of a Kilauea ranch that injured four horses and required one to be put down.

Floyd Miller, of Hookui Place in Kilauea, has owned the 20-acre parcel off Rock Quarry Road for 2 1/2 years, and said last Monday night’s burglary isn’t nearly as tragic as what happened to his horses.

“Its more of a consequence than a few bites,” Miller ventured. The items stolen can generally be easily exchanged for cash – a stereo, welding kit, horse tack and chainsaws, Miller said.

“Most of the crime that takes place is due to drugs or people trying to get money for drugs. I’m not sure if that’s the case here,” Bryan Baptiste said Monday afternoon. Baptiste said with the ‘Olelo ‘O Kaua’i program, he plans to bring together the community, judiciary, preventive services and police to reclaim neighborhoods.

Several of the horses are lame and others may be dangerous to ride because they are traumatized by the sight of even the family’s dogs – and might potentially throw a rider if a dog comes near.

Kaua’i Police Department officers who completed the initial investigation were not able to comment on the case, and calls to police staff in a position to make a statement were not returned by press time.

“What kind of concern do people have for their own animals if they’re going to put them in a situation where they might get trampled by a horse protecting its baby?” Miller contended.

“It’s a thing of power- I don’t know any other way to explain it,” said Kauai Humane Society Executive Director Rebecca Rhoades, DVM. The cycle of violence often starts with abuse against animals, and the “profile” for people who commit crimes against animals are usually young males, she said.

Those arrested could face misdemeanor charges under the county’s “dangerous dog” ordinance, which took effect Oct. 15. It must be proven that the dog owner did not take reasonable measures to prevent the dogs from attacking, and the unprovoked attack caused serious injury or the destruction of an animal. The penalties include a fine of $50 – $1,000, 30 days in jail or 6 months probation, and restitution.

“Valentino,” a 13-year-old miniature horse, had its back right leg “shattered, turned completely backward and dangling from its body,” Miller said last Friday afternoon. It suffered a blunt force trauma to its cannon bone (like a shin bone), but no lacerations or wounds, said Craig Nishimoto, DVM, of Paradise Animal Clinic in Kalaheo. Valentino was euthanized.

The other horse brought in, a quarter horse, was treated for lacerations and puncture wounds “that could have been possibly from dog bites or some sharp objects,” Nishimoto said. “It’s a shame. If it was caused by human violence, it’s sad that they take it out on defenseless animals.”

Miller suspected that one of the two Percherons was trying to protect its filly from a dog that got loose from a truck during the burglary; in trying to protect it, she injured the dog. Then, more dogs were let loose, which attacked the other horses.

“As they probably wouldn’t want me in their living room, they shouldn’t be in my backyard,” he said. Below the ranch is a 170-acre valley where some hunting could be done, but his property is flat with barely any trees and is too close to neighborhoods to be used for hunting. In order for the property to broken into, they had to cross several locked gates and trespassing signs, Miller said.

“I hope that these dogs are dealt with, but I believe there’s a bigger problem. It’s the responsibility of the people who trained them,” Miller said Monday.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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