(BIVN) – A Kaʻū man died Tuesday following a dog attack in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision.
The victim, who was attacked by four large dogs on the roadway of Outrigger Drive, has not been publicly identified by police. The owners of the dogs “have been read their rights and have voluntarily surrendered 14 dogs”, officials say.
“We offer our heartfelt thoughts to the victim’s family,” said Hawai‘i County Mayor Mitch Roth. “Regardless of the circumstances, this is a tragedy for our island community.”
From a Hawaiʻi Police news release:
On August 1, 2023, at approximately 8:59 a.m., Ka‘ū patrol officers responded to an animal complaint in the 92-2000 block of Outrigger Drive in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision. Officers observed a male victim lying unconscious in the roadway when they arrived. Police located a witness who reported hearing a commotion outside his residence. When the witness went to check, he saw the victim being attacked in the roadway by four large dogs. The witness chased the dogs and called the police and paramedics to the scene.
The victim, believed to be a male in his 70s, was treated by emergency medical personnel at the scene and while being transported to the Kona Community Hospital, he succumbed to his injuries. He was transported to the Ka‘ū Hospital for the official pronouncement of death. Hawai’i Police Chief Ben Moszkowicz said, “There is currently no evidence that the victim provoked this horrific attack. This incident is a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided.”
The dogs’ owners were not home at the time of the attack; however, they have been identified and contacted by police. Investigators are looking into claims that the dogs had previously been reported as stray animals. In the meantime, the owners have surrendered all four dogs and a litter of 10 puppies to the Hawai’i County Animal Control and Protection Agency.
Police are investigating this incident as a Negligent Failure to Control a Dangerous Dog case. Hawai’i County Code section 4-4-32 was most recently revised in 2022 and makes it a felony crime if someone fails to take reasonable measures to prevent an unprovoked dog attack resulting in serious bodily injury or death. Investigators have classified the case as a Class B Felony. If convicted under this section, the dog owners could face up to a $25,000 fine, ten years in prison, restitution, and/or the humane destruction of the dogs involved.
Anyone with information regarding this incident are being asked by police to contact Area II Criminal Investigation Section Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 960-3118 or via e-mail at Donovan.Kohara@hawaiicounty.gov.
“Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00,” the police news release stated. “Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.”