A man was arrested after a rescue at the Friends for Life animal shelter in Makaha Wednesday.
Honolulu police arrived early in the morning with a warrant, and Hawaiian Humane Society took custody of more than 270 dogs, which are now under HHS care.
David Moore, 60, was booked on suspicion of second-degree animal cruelty. He has since been released pending further investigation.
Friends for Life is located near Keaau Beach Park. It’s a shelter that was investigated back in 2015, after reports that some of the animals were being mistreated. At that time, KHON2 spoke with the owner, who told us all the animals are properly fed and taken care of.
The Hawaiian Humane Society had heard complaints at the time, but said they were denied access to the property to help. Staff spent much of the day shutting the dogs back to its facility in Moiliili.
HHS spokeswoman Allison Gammel says the animals were living in inhumane conditions, and some they rescued looked like they needed medical attention.
“We did receive a call from someone reporting inhumane conditions of the animals and animal cruelty,” she said. “There are a lot of thin, emaciated dogs, some with skin conditions as well.”
However supporters of Friends for Life say the shelter is good for the dogs.
“The guy in charge over here, he takes good care of the dogs,” said shelter volunteer Leslie Meacham. “For most of them, they are healthy. To me, they are safe off the streets from being hurt, killed, not eating.”
As for skin conditions, Meacham said, “I’ve seen some, but he does have medications and his ways of treating it, and I’ve seen him treat a lot of dogs and cured them.”
Neither HPD nor the prosecutor’s office would comment on specifics of the warrant, citing the ongoing investigation.
President and CEO Pamela Burns released the following statement after the rescue:
Our staff and volunteers are working diligently to provide them with immediate veterinary care and to ensure their comfort and safety. We are partnering with the Honolulu Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate this case and pursue justice for these dogs.
If you’d like to help, the humane society is in need of supplies — such as crates, towels, puppy pads, shampoo, and detergent — and financial support for animal and foster care. Click here for more information.
They are also looking for volunteer veterinary technicians and/or veterinary assistants to help with the animals. Those interested should call 356-2232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
§711-1108.5 Cruelty to animals in the first degree.
(1) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals in the first degree if the person intentionally or knowingly:
- Tortures, mutilates, or poisons or causes the torture, mutilation, or poisoning of any pet animal or equine animal resulting in serious bodily injury or death of the pet animal or equine animal; or
- Kills or attempts to kill any pet animal belonging to another person, without first obtaining legal authority or the consent of the pet animal’s owner.
(2) Subsection (1)(a) shall not apply to:
- Accepted veterinary practices;
- Activities carried on for scientific research governed by standards of accepted educational or medicinal practices; or
- Cropping or docking as customarily practiced.
(3) Subsection (1)(b) shall not apply to:
- Humane euthanasia of any animal by an animal control officer, duly incorporated humane society, duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or duly authorized governmental agency in accordance with American Veterinary Medical Association accepted standards; or
- Conduct which the actor believes to be necessary to avoid an imminent harm or evil to the actor, another person, or an animal; provided that the harm or evil sought to be avoided by such conduct is greater than that sought to be prevented by this section and is justifiable as provided in section 703-302 for choice of evils; provided further that, for purposes of this paragraph, as the justification described in section 703 302 shall also apply to conduct which the actor believes to be necessary to avoid an imminent harm or evil to an animal.
(4) Whenever any pet animal or equine animal is so severely injured that there is no reasonable probability that its life can be saved, the animal may be immediately destroyed without creating any offense under this section.
(5) Cruelty to animals in the first degree is a class C felony. In addition to any fines and imprisonment imposed under this section, any person convicted under this section shall be prohibited from possessing or owning any pet animal or equine animal for a minimum of five years from the date of conviction.
[(6)] For the purposes of this section, “person” means any individual; any firm, partnership, joint venture, association, limited liability company, corporation, estate, trust, receiver, or syndicate; or any other legal entity. [L 2007, c 114, §2; am L 2008, c 111, §2; am L 2011, c 135, §1; am L 2013, c 209, §2]
Commentary on §711-1108.5
Act 114, Session Laws 2007, created the offense of cruelty to animals in the first degree, making it a felony to intentionally or knowingly torture, mutilate, or poison or cause the torture, mutilation, or poisoning of any pet animal resulting in serious bodily injury or death of the pet animal. The legislature found that violence, whether against humans or animals, must be not tolerated in our society. Evidence suggests a link between animal abuse and the commission of violent acts against humans. Hawaii is only one of nine states in the United States without a felony offense for domestic animal abuse. The legislature also found that pet animals provide a close emotional bond and relationship with their owners and family members and friends. Violence and harm committed against the animals have a significant emotional impact on their owners and family. The felony provisions of Act 114 protected pet animals. Conference Committee Report No. 29.
Act 111, Session Laws 2008, amended this section by making an offense involving serious bodily injury or death to an equine animal a class C felony, thus extending to equine animals some of the legal protections accorded to pet animals relating to animal cruelty. The legislature believed that horses belong under the protection of law and that adding equine animals to the list of animals protected under the animal cruelty law reflects the fact that companion animals come in all shapes and sizes. House Standing Committee Report No. 1589-08, Senate Standing Committee Report No. 2879, Conference Committee Report No. 20-08.
Act 135, Session Laws 2011, amended this section to include killing or attempting to kill any pet animal belonging to another person without first obtaining legal authority or the consent of the pet animal’s owner, except for the humane euthanasia of an animal in accordance with American Veterinary Medical Association accepted standards or conduct that the actor believes necessary to avoid an imminent harm or evil to the actor, another person, or an animal. The legislature found that the existing language of this section did not expressly address any method of killing a pet animal other than torture, mutilation, or poisoning. The legislature believed that the loophole should be closed for several reasons. The killing of a pet animal for sport was not only abhorrent, but this type of aggressive behavior has wider implications. Animal abuse has connections to the abuse of family members and may increase aggressive or violent tendencies in children who witness their pets being abused or killed. There were concerns that animal abuse or killing perpetuates the cycle of violence because people who commit acts of serious animal abuse frequently have histories of, or future tendencies toward, violent crimes against humans. By expressly making the killing of a pet animal a criminal offense, the legislature intended to deter this conduct and its grave effects. Senate Standing Committee Report No. 559, Conference Committee Report No. 29.
Act 209, Session Laws 2013, amended this section to prohibit persons convicted of cruelty to animals in the first degree from possessing or owning any pet animal or equine animal for a minimum of five years from the date of conviction. The legislature found that Act 209 was based on the concept that defendants convicted of cruelty to animals in the first degree should no longer be afforded the privilege of owning a pet animal or equine animal. Conference Committee Report No. 62.