UPDATE (October 17, 2013) EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was posted, we spoke to the owners of the dogs on the property off Lindsey Road (shown in Ethan’s video) and they tell us their dogs were not the ones who attacked the woman who was at the meeting, nor did their dogs kill the victim’s dog. We did not report this, but agreed the clarification should be made. We have withheld the name of those dog owners.
WAIMEA, Hawaii – Harrowing tales of escape were recounted last week in Waimea. Recent events involving loose dogs have the community on edge. At least one incident reportedly turned violent – leaving a woman injured and her smaller dog dead.
The crowd listened intently during a recent panel discussion at the Waimea Community Association meeting. The intention of the panel – comprised of police, the prosecutor, and animal control officers – was to educate the public on the laws pertaining to dogs, enforcement procedures and consequences, and whether changes are needed.
The folks who were gathered in the Waimea Middle School cafeteria seemed to think something had to be done, in light of recent events.
Photographer Ethan Tweedie was in the audience, and he expressed his concerns about a pack of dogs in the Waimea Parkside development. The victim of that attack was also in the audience that evening. Tweedie captured some photos of the situation and some video, too… which he shared with Big Island Video News.
The images show an intimidating scene on this property off Lindsey Road. Pictures of pitbulls off the leash, and one video shows an animal loose in the neighborhood. The audience at the Waimea Community Association meeting wanted to know what they could do to better protect themselves.
There are laws on the books regarding this type of situation. Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth detailed the possible punishments a dangerous dog – and their owners – might face in court.
Roth said homeowners with dogs and landlords who have tenants with dogs need to be aware of their civil liability under the law, too.
Susy Ruddle, a volunteer and president of the Hawaii Island Humane Society, said she knows all about situations involving dangerous dogs. With her was Sandi Coit, an Animal Control Officer, who explained how the Humane Society handles such dog calls. She said that if the dog bites, it becomes categorized as a dangerous dog.
One of the main enforcement problems is manpower. Natalie Tavares, Manager of Hawaii Island Humane Society in Waimea, gave a breakdown of their available resources for the crowd: Two officers for all of North and South Kohala.