Three hunting dogs kenneled on agricultural land in Kekaha were found dead yesterday of neglect.
“(Tuesday) night at about 10 o’clock we received a call that there was a dead dog in a dog kennel with several other dogs on ag land west of the Kekaha sugar mill,” said Kauai Humane Society Director Becky Rhoades. “We went out there first thing (Wednesday) morning.”
“There was one dead and eaten, one was chewed up and eight dogs are in poor to bad condition,” she said.
Later in the day, humane society officials found two more dead dogs in a nearby ditch. A total of 80 animals were found on the property.
The Kekaha Agricultural Association manages the land where the dogs were found. The property is owned by the Amfac Development Corporation, formerly Kekaha Sugar. “The dogs were located on a parcel of land that is currently unrented,” KAA spokesperson Kenny Chicoine, said. “They were there illegally.”
Chicoine said the “dog issue” was known by the group a few months ago and eviction notices had been placed on the kennels twice. “Both times the notices were removed and the animals stayed,” he said.
A puppy in one of the kennels had been mostly eaten by its two kennel mates. Rhoades said starvation would not necessarily be the cause of that type of behavior. “The animals are in such close quarters, they may just start gnawing on things,” she said.
Humane society manager of field services Chris Vierra said seven different owners had animals on the parcel and not all of the kennels were in as bad a condition as where the dead animal was found. “The majority of them though was unacceptable,” he said.
Rhoades said six of the seven owners were found to be in violation of the state animal cruelty law 711.1109 for failing to provide necessary sustenance.
“The owner of the dead puppy was charged with one count of cruelty to animals,” Rhoades said.
Kyle Lazaro, 24, of Kekaha will be arraigned on the charge in early October. “Cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor,” Rhoades said.
When reached by phone, Lazaro did not want to comment for this story.
The agricultural association spokesman said after the eviction notices were twice-ignored by the animal owners an action plan had been developed with Amfac Development Corporation. “An eviction plan was going to be discussed at the October meeting as was legal action,” Chicoine said.
He said one of the reasons this situation progressed so far was historical agreements established as far back as Kekaha Sugar days that allowed people certain access to property such as for kenneling of animals. The area in the past has held a piggery and been home to goats.
“We are in the process of getting through those agreements now,” Chicoine said.
The humane society is in possession of Lazaro’s other dogs, and the agency will have to go through a custody hearing to learn if they will take ownership. “The majority of animals out there are in good condition,” Rhoades said. “One hunter had called us and was feeding the animal that eventually died.”
Rhoades said she feels this incident is not a case of how hunters raise their animals as working dogs. “It is a case of neglect,” she said.
“We recognize the difference between working or companion animals and there is a standard of care for either type,” she said.
• Adam Harju, editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 227) or firstname.lastname@example.org