TGI Staff Writer
The first people charged for violating the county’s “dangerous dogs” law, passed last October, were recently sentenced. The law was passed following reports last summer of animals and hikers being attacked by alleged hunting dogs. Also, outcry from residents who were upset about dogs being allowed to run free on beaches and in parks was a factor.
However, some of the cases that were cited when the bill was adopted by the Kaua’i County Council were not charged yet though two have made their way through the criminal justice system.
Kaili Olanolan, of Wainiha, whose hunting dogs attacked cattle at Princeville Ranch in January was sentenced June 25 to fines of $500 and restitution of at least $5,000 to the Kaua’i Humane Society and Princeville Ranch. Olanolan, who was unavailable for comment after several telephone calls, has no prior history for any dog case, and the dogs also had no “history.” He opted to have his five dogs euthanized.
Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro said Wednesday that he supported the dangerous dogs law because of concerns coming from farmers and ranchers whose herds were attacked and also hunters who should train their dogs to not attack people or other non-game animals.
“I supported the bill even though I’m an avid hunter,” Kaneshiro said. “There’s gotta be some control where when you as a hunter should be responsible enough that your dog would not attack a human.”
“My other concern was for ranchers. If the dogs are trained to be able to do that (differentiate between humans, horses, cattle and pigs) then they will.”
“We’ve had many instances where goat farmers, the herd was almost destroyed by dogs and the police were helpless because the strongest law was the leash law. Before there was a law, there wouldn’t be a great response from the police because there wasn’t a real strong law in place,” Kaneshiro added. He also added that the people who own the victimized animals or who themselves are victimized, could take pictures if it will help police.
“Big Boy,” a male hound; “Hana,” a female pit bull; “Roger,” an Airedale; and “Lady” and “Bulla,” both female hound-pit bulls, were held at the Kaua’i Humane Society since the incident at a cost of $5 per day per dog for food, grooming and monthly heartworm and flea treatments, said Dr. Becky Rhoades, KHS director.
Olanolan ultimately entered a plea agreement for two of his dogs. He must pay minimum leash law fines, $50 per dog and for dangerous dogs, $50 each. Roland Talon, District Court prosecutor, said that based on the police report, the witnesses could positively identify two dogs as actually causing damage. Talon said that Olanolan requested that the KHS provide boarding and care for all animals pending the case and then requested them to be euthanized.
Under the law, the animals must be kept in pens and under adult supervision for the remainder of their lives. Also, the owner has to attend training sessions and have the animals spayed or neutered and implanted with microchips that state the owner’s name and address. The cow that aborted her calf was sent to market about three months after the attack.
“If the dogs were going to stay alive they would have to stay in a pen for the rest of their lives and that’s not a good life for a dog,” Rhoades said.
Barbara Haas, the wife of Lihu’e veterinarian David Haas, owner of Lihu’e Veterinary Clinic, was also recently sentenced by District Court in Lihu’e after pleading “no contest.” She decided to keep her dog “Huppi,” a mixed-breed, under the protections required by law. She kept her dog in her custody pending the court proceedings. Haas was also sentenced to a fine of $50.
On Jan. 21, “Huppi” bit a man in Lihu’e. The victim was treated for minor injuries. She agreed to plead no contest to one charge in District Court in Lihu’e but decided not to have her pet euthanized. Haas refused to comment further about the incident.
Haas is required to keep Huppi in a locked and secure kennel and in the care of adults when not indoors. When outdoors, it’s required to have a leash six feet at the longest. Dr. Haas said earlier that they purchased a head-fitted leader and muzzle.
“That’s unfortunate that the dogs become the victims when the owners can’t take care of their dogs responsibly … They’re dangerous dogs and this is the hard part about the law. This would have never happened if the owner had managed them properly,” Rhoades said.
The Humane Society is investigating a case that occurred Monday evening, where Pono, a miniature Doberman, was attacked near Kahe Road in Kilauea by two Rottweilers. Pono was euthanized by Dr. Haas Tuesday morning after suffering a broken back and losing a large amount of blood from lacerations about two inches deep. Pono’s owner, Owen Carter, said that his 4-year-old grandson unwittingly went off the property and took Pono for a walk, holding him with a rope leash.
“He’s scared and traumatized, (it was) his first dog, and we always do things together in the afternoon, but I went shopping after work so I was a little late getting home, and he probably got impatient and went out without me. He knew he shouldn’t do it, but he’s four!” Carter said.
“I love dogs,” he said. “I’m not down on the dogs. Dogs bite and any dog can bite. Even the nicest dog given the right circumstances can bite. As owners its up to us, we’re supposed to be smarter. I’m just worried that my grandson could have had his legs mauled just as easily.”
The county’s “Dangerous Dogs” ordinance was signed Oct. 15, 2002 with stiffer penalties than the county’s leash law, which has been in effect since 1975. Leash law fines are $50-150 for a first offense, $100-200 for a second offense and $150 for any citations thereafter. “Dangerous Dogs” is a petty misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $50-1,000 per dog, restitution and up to 30 days imprisonment. Also, the owner must post a sign stating there’s a dangerous dog on premises; attend training classes; and the dog must wear a muzzle.
There is currently no policy on whether the KPD or Kaua’i Humane Society forwards the cases to the Prosecutor’s Office, but there have been at least six cases initiated so far.
For more information please contact the Kaua’i Humane Society at 632-0610, or the Mayor’s Office/Public Information at 241-6300 or 241-6303.
Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 245-3681 (ext. 252).