The Hawaiian Humane Society is seeking immediate forfeiture of 153 dogs taken Feb. 28 from a Waimanalo breeding farm and 79 puppies born after the seizure.
A petition filed Thursday in an animal cruelty case at Kaneohe District Court is the first time such action has been taken since an animal forfeiture law went into effect in 2006, said Keoni Vaughn, Humane Society operations director. Arguments will be heard on July 13.
As an alternative, the owner of the breeding operation, Bradley International Inc., can put up a $240,000 bond for the care of the animals from Feb. 28 to May 31, Vaughn said.
The Humane Society prefers immediate ownership rather than waiting for the outcome of two criminal cases, one against Bradley International and the other against David Lee Becker, its manager.
Bradley’s attorney, Jason Burks, retained last week, was prepared to plead not guilty to the 153 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty at an arraignment Thursday.
But the judge continued the hearing to July 20 because Burks had not been authorized by his client to waive a jury trial and had not reviewed the voluminous case files.
Burks does not represent Becker individually, though Becker is an officer of the corporation. Becker has not yet been served with the complaint.
This was the largest dog-breeder bust in the state’s history and means caring for 232 animals, Vaughn said.
The Humane Society successfully sought legislation in 2006 for animal forfeiture after a 2004 Kahaluu case involving 71 animals.
That case took a year of work and cost the agency $140,000, which it failed to recoup, he said.•
The law allows forfeiture of an impounded pet animal before and during a criminal action against its owner.
Vaughn said the dogs are now “flourishing in specialized foster homes,” while others with severe illnesses receive veterinary care.
About 30 people protesting the breeding farm, including some caring for impounded dogs, showed up at court Thursday.
Dori Lovell of Aiea said the dog she is caring for has “added a ton of meaning to my life.” She said she hopes to be able to keep the dog.
Most of the dogs were infected with parasites and had corneal abrasions, missing eyes and eye and ear infections, the petition says. Long-haired ones had “severely matted coats glued together with their own excrement.”
The cost of care to May 31 has been $130,508 and includes food, grooming and boarding costs. Veterinary costs have totaled $111,474.