Pit bull goes after ‘Obama’

KAPAA — A man and his dog escaped serious injury Wednesday afternoon when a pit bull got out of a fenced yard and went after the smaller pet.

James “Kimo” Rosen of Kapaa was riding his bike with his dog “Obama” along Ulu Street around 4:30 p.m., when an adult pit bull apparently escaped from a fenced residence.

“I have lost my voice today,” Rosen said. “I was screaming so much it was crazy.”

Rosen said he usually takes his bike along the main highway through old Kapaa town, but decided to take the parallel road. The gray adult pit bull came out of nowhere, he said.

“Obama” was wearing a T-shirt to protect him from the heat, Rosen said. It may have saved him from serious injury when the pit bull bit the shirt instead of his fur.

Rosen fell to his knees trying to protect his mixed terrier rescue dog that he got from the Humane Society.

The only thing Rosen could do was pick his smaller dog up by the leash. He was swinging the dog back and forth in a keep away action from the pit bull, he said.

“He was going after her like a carnival ride,” Rosen said. “I felt like I was a fishing pole holding bait for this big dog.”

A witness charged in tackled the pit bull, he said. The petite woman held the dog down until the owner retrieved him to the yard.

Rosen said the pit bull owner was apologetic and offered to pay for his produce that was strewn about the street after falling from the bike’s basket. The bike may need adjustments but he said there appeared to be no damage.

Rosen said he suffered scrapes on his hands, legs and back. Medics treated and released him at the scene.

According to a statement from Kauai Police Department, the officers responded and a Kauai Humane Society officer was already on scene. Based on the on-scene investigation, the Humane Society enforcement officer issued the dog owner a leash law warning citation.

There was no further action taken by police, according to the county spokesperson. 

Rosen said at the scene that the warning was sufficient and did not request that a complaint be filed against the owner, he said.

Kauai Human Society Executive Director Penny Cistaro said that she is working on a draft dangerous dog ordinance with a county council member. The updated ordinance would allow a dog to be cited as dangerous for exhibiting threatening behavior.

This behavior could be determined by complaints of what a reasonable person would feel if they have to protect themselves or take a defensive action or they are going to get bit. If a dog is determined to be dangerous before an incident with injury occurs, then it makes it more difficult to keep the dog.

Some dogs jump a fence just to get out and walk around. Other dogs want to run and play with the kids and other dogs, she said.

Those are both problems, and present a danger to others and make the dogs a traffic hazard where they could be injured, she said. But then there are the dogs that see other dogs or people and want to attack.

“It is that behavior that triggers a follow-up,” she said.

“If we declare a dog to be dangerous then there will be restrictions placed on the animal,” she said.

Adds comment from police that a Humane Society warning was issued to the dog owner and no further action was taken.


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