POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jan 22, 2011
Sandra Maloney doesn't recommend taking a bat to noisy peacocks as she did, but believes a Circuit Court jury verdict clearing her of cruelty-to-animals charges will mean open season on the squawking birds.
"I feel vindicated," she said yesterday after the verdict concluding her four-day trial.
The state had charged Maloney, 70, with a misdemeanor cruelty charge for bludgeoning a peacock and killing it outside her Makaha Valley Towers condominium May 17, 2009.
To find Maloney guilty of cruelty, the jurors needed to determine that peacocks are not insects, pests or vermin and that there was no need for her to kill it. They deliberated less than two hours before finding her not guilty.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources does not require hunting permits to kill peacocks or peahens because it considers peafowl feral animals, not wildlife.
Maloney testified she hit the peacock once on the head with a baseball bat and carried it into some bushes believing it was dead. She said she had ultimately intended to cook it.
"I did not allow that bird to suffer. Those so-called animal lovers who sat down there and watched that bird in agony for 45 minutes to me should be held accountable for something," she said.
A board member of her condominium association testified he saw the bird struggle to move, then tumble down a flight of stairs.
Had she known the bird was still alive, Maloney said she would have put it out of its misery.
Maloney, who said she had grown frustrated and weary of incessant squawking from peacocks on the grounds of Makaha Valley Towers, said she plans to sue her association board.
She said the board refused to take action to reduce the number of birds, which she said leave their feces all over and make it difficult for residents to sleep at night, especially during mating season.
Her lawyer Earle Partington said he believes the state prosecuted Maloney for political reasons.
"We had to waste four days (of trial) of the taxpayers' money for a case the state could not win," he said.
City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said in a written statement his office will not be deterred by yesterday's verdict.
"We will continue to vigorously prosecute cases of excessive cruelty to or ill-treatment of animals. It will always be a policy of this office to advocate for the safety of those who cannot advocate for themselves," he said.
Maloney and her husband still live at Makaha Valley Towers. But she said since she was charged with cruelty, they have received bad treatment and have even received telephone death threats.
Maloney said the birds have not been as loud as in 2009 because people have been quietly killing them.