‘Kipu’ case gains national attention

The case of a Kaua‘i pet killed by trespassers in August is now in the national spotlight as representatives yesterday from the national Humane Society asked the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to charge those accused of doing it to the full extent of the law.

“Kipu” the pig — a pet to local residents for more than 14 years — was killed Aug. 5 while he was resting in the sun on his owner’s property in Kilauea, his caretaker has said.

So far, the two 19-year-olds accused of shooting Kipu on Earl Simpson’s property several feet from his house have not been formally charged with a crime. It wasn’t until Simpson, Kipu’s most recent owner, called the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office earlier this month that the office told him they would look into it, he said.

In spite of the fact that Kipu was killed almost 31/2 months ago, the case was only referred to the Prosecutor’s Office by the Kaua‘i Police Department Tuesday, county spokeswoman Mary Daubert said in an e-mail.

“It is currently being screened for appropriate charging,” she said. “The screening process includes a review of the police reports and following up with the victim and witnesses before deciding on the appropriate charges to be filed.”

In addition to asking the county to prosecute the two men, Dale Bartlett, deputy manager of animal cruelty issues for the HSUS, is also calling for residents to ask legislators to step up the penalties for animal cruelty across the state.

According the Humane Society, Hawai‘i is not one of the 42 U.S. states that have felony penalties for certain acts of animal cruelty.

“We’re concerned because we think animal cruelty is a very serious charge,” Bartlett said. “If they don’t charge them, that would be a very significant misstep.”

Historically Hawai‘i is among the worst when it comes to animal cruelty cases, Bartlett said, noting the most recent case of “Porky,” another pig killed by a trespasser in Honolulu who cut off his leg and then allowed his dogs to maul him.

“If they’re not charged, it will be somewhat of a pattern for animal cruelty cases in Hawai‘i,” Bartlett said. “Animal cruelty has not been taken as seriously in Hawai‘i as other parts of the country.”

Another example Bartlett cited was the 2001 case of a Big Island man sentenced to one year of probation for killing his landlord’s German shepherd with a machete.

“What we hope is that the ground swell of public opinion will become prevalent and that the Hawaiian Legislature will pass felony animal cruelty legislation because it’s what the people want and deserve,” he said.

In regard to the culture of hunting in Hawai‘i, Bartlett said there needs to be a distinction between hunting and sociopathic behavior.

“This is not hunting,” he said. “In fact, the Pig Hunter’s Association has said, ‘These guys are not hunters, this is sick.’ In both cases (Kipu and Porky) people showed such scorn and disrespect for the owners of these pets, we feel they’re outside of accepted social behavior.”

• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or agregg@kauaipubco.com.

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