(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council Committee on Public Safety last Tuesday heard from distressed residents of Hawaiian Acres, who say dogs running loose in their subdivision are a danger.
During the meeting in Hilo, several public testifiers shared their stories. Margaret Bartelt, a retired Child Protective Services social worker, recounted how she was attacked by three pit bulls while she was walking her own dog on C Road.
Bartelt said the owners of the pit bulls were “close enough, I’m sure they heard, and the police officers found them at their home after the attack happened, while I was on my way to the emergency room.”
“I’m not here to throw stones at the police or the prosecutors or the Humane Society,” she said. “Having been a public servant of CPS for 21 years, I know we all have time constraints, etc. But something has to be done. These dogs were not confiscated. I was told they couldn’t be because of the way the rules are now.”
Puna Councilman Matt Kanealiʻi-Kleinfelder made a request to discuss the policies and procedures for response to animal attacks at the committee meeting. Hawaiʻi Island Humane Society Chief Executive Officer Charles Brown was in attendance.
Brown said “the onus is on the police department to investigate animal-on-human attacks. The Humane Society typically does animal-on-animal attacks, strays, loose animals, things of that nature.”
“The correct thing to do is if somebody is being attacked by an animal, is to call 9-1-1,” Brown said. “We are not a lights and sirens operation. We do not even have the radio contact with the police or any dispatching unit,” he said.
“As man’s best friend, we need to take care of our dogs,” said Councilman Kanealiʻi-Kleinfelder, “but also make sure that we’re taking care of them and keeping them contained so tyey don’t hurt anybody. So, I’m interested in working with Margaret, Charles, and Police Department. We’ll come together, we’ll set a meeting time. If one member of this council would like to be involved in that, I am open to it.”