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Alleged puppy mill operator faces animal cruelty charges for 2nd time

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    An investigator from the Hawaiiane Humane Society carries a dog in a towel taken from a home on Mahakea Road.

An Oahu grand jury indicted a 68 year-old Kahaluu man Tuesday for allegedly mistreating dogs in a puppy mill at his home in May.

It’s not the first time James Montgomery has faced animal cruelty charges in connection with an alleged puppy mill. Montgomery was charged with 55 counts of animal cruelty 10 years ago and was fined $5,500.

His arrest Tuesday at his home followed his indictment on first-degree and second-degree animal cruelty. He posted bail of $25,000.

The Prosecutor’s Office said that second-degree animal cruelty is typically a misdemeanor, but becomes a Class C felony if the offense involves 10 or more animals.

Montgomery, a former Kaiser High School teacher, is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Circuit Court.

Officers initially arrested him for suspicion of animal cruelty May 21 after police and the Humane Society raided his Mahakea Road home. He was released pending investigation.

Police had been called several times in May by Montgomery’s daughter and a neighbor who complained about the conditions of the animals. Thirty-three dogs were seized in May. Two dogs were found in a trash can. One had been shot dead and the other was emaciated and anemic.

Montgomery housed the dogs and puppies in an underground bunker.

The Human Society reported there was no lighting in the bunker and that dogs were raised in the dark in cages with wire bottoms, allowing urine and feces to fall through. The bunker had no ventilation, and the animals were kept without food or water. The dogs are now in foster care.

In a previous animal cruelty case in 2005, 64 dogs and puppies were taken away from Montgomery.

Under a plea agreement in 2006, Montgomery was granted a deferred acceptance of a guilty plea which allowed the conviction to be removed from his record. The confiscated animals were returned to him after the case ended and he was allowed to sell the animals.

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