Hawaii News ‘Puppy mill’ lawsuit misguided, lawyer says By Leila Fujimori Sept. 10, 2011 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. A lawyer for the corporate owner of an alleged puppy mill asserts his client is not the legal owner of the 153 dogs seized by the Hawaiian Humane Society, so a circuit judge should deny the humane society’s request seeking forfeiture of the dogs and their puppies. Jason Burks, attorney for Bradley International Inc., said this was just one of “a bunch of technical, legal problems” with the organization’s forfeiture case. Circuit Judge Glenn Kim heard closing arguments Friday afternoon after hearing testimony for two days presented by the humane society. He will rule at 1:30 p.m. on Monday. The humane society is trying to gain permanent custody of the 153 dogs and the 79 puppies born after the seizure to 16 of the dogs that were pregnant. Kevin Sumida, lawyer for the humane society, argued the puppies were born while in its custody and “therefore belong to us. As goods, when the goods are forfeited, all the goods are forfeited.” But Burks argued: “This is not a puppy mill case. This is 153 separate cruelty to animal charges. The 79 puppies born after impoundment should be returned.” Burks said the law requires forfeiture must specifically be against the owners of the animals. He also said corporate defendants can be charged with a crime, but under a different statute named in the state’s criminal complaint. Vernon Luke, Shannon Luke and David Lee Becker are the legal owners of the animals, but only Becker, the operation’s manager, was individually charged along with Bradley International with 153 counts of second-degree animal cruelty, he said. The state has not yet found Becker to serve him with the complaint. Luke, Becker and Sheryl Luke-Kalani are the officers of Bradley International. Sumida called numerous witnesses to testify to the filthy conditions, the lack of necessary sustenance and the poor condition that most of the dogs were allegedly in when seized Feb. 28. “To return the puppies to the same wretched and filthy conditions that their mothers come from,” and to allow Bradley to breed them “yet again to sell puppies to the unsuspecting public” would not uphold the intent of the law. He also called on witnesses Friday, including a Utah veterinarian, to show the effects the stressful and poor conditions the mother dogs were living in had on their puppies. A foster caregiver for a seized pregnant golden retriever said the severely emaciated dog was so weak that she needed to help the dog give birth by pulling the thin puppies out. Previous Story Downtown ceremony pays tribute to victims, survivors Next Story Fans sought to fill stands as Wahine star in 'Five-0'