Sunday, March 20, 2011

Crackdown vowed on animal cruelty

By Leila Fujimori

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said he's taking animal cruelty cases "very seriously."

"Our office will be more proactive on animal cruelty cases," he said, adding that he sent a prosecutor to the scene of an alleged Waimanalo puppy mill where more than 150 puppies and dogs were seized.

Dave Becker, manager of the large commercial dog breeding facility at 41-761 Mahailua St., faces multiple charges of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, but has not yet been charged, according to the Hawaiian Humane Society.

Becker's lawyer, Victor Bakke, called the Humane Society's seizure Monday as "overzealous."

"They're filthy but these are not household animals," he said, calling them "breeding machines." "They are equivalent to farm animals. They're being housed, fed and bred, and that's basically all that's required."

The Hawaiian Humane Society held a news conference yesterday, allowing news media to photograph and videotape the seized dogs at the Waialae Avenue shelter, including some unwashed animals that reeked of feces and urine.

Some suffering from mange had large bald spots. Other long-haired dogs' fur was caked with fecal matter. Some dogs' fur was so matted, their legs were knitted together and they could not walk..." More

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