An argument over a nene, also known as a Hawaiian goose, apparently helped land a man in court.
An Anahola man pleaded no contest to a petty misdemeanor charge of harassment in connection with the case in 5th Circuit Court last week, and was sentenced to time served. The charge was reduced from a misdemeanor family or household member abuse charge that could have brought him a year in jail.
The man said he and his female friend had been arguing on Oct. 11, 2011. After seeing what looked like a raft of ducks on nearby water, the man said his comment that he wished he’d had a gun was enough to upset his friend more.
She pointed out, he said, that these ‘ducks’ were protected nene geese. It is unlawful to harass nene, and killing one can bring up to a $50,000 fine or a year in jail, according to the Endangered Species Act.
The defendant said they shoot ducks in his native Texas, and that he wasn’t aware the nene were considered so special on Kaua‘i.
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin said the defendant threw a solar light at the victim.
The man said that he did not intend for it to hit the person. He apologized and said he never meant for the incident to escalate. “I am sorry that it happened like that,” the man said.
Arin said that with no prior history of violence, the state suggested a sentence of time served. The jail minimum penalty for this type of petty misdemeanor is usually two days in jail.
A nene looks similar to and may be related to the Canadian Goose, according to the Audubon Society. On Kaua‘i, they can be seen most often on Koke‘e, the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge and around golf courses.
District Chief Judge Randal Valenciano sentenced the man to time served and a $30 crime victim compensation fee. No probation was ordered.
The defendant is facing other charges in family court.
• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.