Thieves face felony for Kahuku goat theft

A day after KHON2 News aired an exclusive story about dozens of goats bound, duct taped, and stolen from a Kahuku farm, Honolulu police are on the hunt for those responsible.

“All I could say is that when I saw some of the nannies I loved were gone, it broke my heart,” Kahuku rancher Keal Pontin said.

Pontin talked about the loss he suffered on Friday. When he and his family got to their Kahuku farm, they realized half of their goat herd was gone.

“It made my heart sink thinking of what happened to my good animals that I loved,” Pontin said.

Twenty-three goats were stolen. Those left behind had ropes around their necks and duct tape covering their mouths.

Numerous tips have come in since KHON2 first aired the story on Sunday. We even received a tip of the goats spotted on the North Shore.

“Well, somebody had to have some familiarity with goats and what they were stealing. They weren’t just taking them to slaughter them,” said Sen. Clarence Nishihara (D) Agriculture Committee Chair.

Sen. Nishihara says goat theft is unusual, but the crime is serious.

“In 1990, the law was passed on agricultural theft and it was updated in 2006 to include goats,” Sen. Nishihara said.

The law was also changed from a misdemeanor to a felony because the value of livestock had gone up. In fact, the Kahuku rancher says his stolen purebred goats are worth $10,000.

According to the law, a person convicted of committing this crime can face up to a year in prison and be fined at least $1,000 or restitution.

“We could look at increasing the penalty if that’s what it comes to, I suppose,” Sen. Nishihara said.

Many of the missing female goats were due to have babies this week.

“They were our good ones that we planned to build our herd off of. So losing them not only was it financially troubling, it was emotional too,” Pontin said.

The Kahuku goat farm is offering a reward to anyone who can return their goats or provide information that could lead to an arrest. They can be reached at (808) 284-0356.

Anyone with information about the case is also urged to call police.

Related story: Kahuku goats stolen, bound, duct taped

Hawaii Revised Statutes: §708-835.5 Theft of livestock. (1) A person commits the offense of theft of livestock if the person commits theft by:
(a) Having in the person’s possession a live animal of the bovine, equine, swine, sheep, or goat species, or its carcass or meat, while in or upon premises that the person knowingly entered or remained unlawfully in or upon, and that are fenced or enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders; or
(b) Having in the person’s possession a live animal, carcass, or meat in any other location.
(2) Possession of livestock without a livestock ownership and movement certificate, when a certificate is required pursuant to section 142-49, is prima facie evidence that the livestock is or has been stolen.
(3) Theft of livestock is a class C felony.
(4) A person convicted of committing the offense of theft of livestock shall be sentenced in accordance with chapter 706, except that for a first offense the court shall impose a minimum sentence of a fine of at least $1,000 or restitution, whichever is greater. [L 1990, c 28, §1; am L 2005, c 182, §4; am L 2006, c 230, §39]

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