Suspect in peacock beating death suffers court setback - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Suspect in peacock beating death suffers court setback

Sandra Maloney Sandra Maloney
Michael Wilson, Circuit judge Michael Wilson, Circuit judge

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - You could say score one for the peacocks.

A Makaha woman charged with animal cruelty for beating a peacock to death suffered a setback in court Thursday. A judge ruled peacocks living in Makaha Valley are covered under Hawaii's animal cruelty law, and rejected Sandra Maloney's request to dismiss the case against her.

Peacocks roam freely in Makaha Valley, squawk and leave droppings. So should they be considered vermin or pests, which are excluded from Hawaii's animal cruelty law?

"Whether or not the peacock in the instant case was a pest or vermin is an issue for the jury to decide," Michael Wilson, Circuit judge, said.

Sandra Maloney has admitted she beat a peacock to death using a baseball bat because its loud cries caused her to become sleep deprived and depressed.

The defense argued earlier this week that peacocks are wild birds, not domesticated pets, and the law is vague as to what conduct is prohibited.

"The legislature's inclusion of caged birds as pet animals in HRS section 711-1100 does not establish a legislative intent to remove all other birds from the protection of the cruelty to animals statute," Wilson ruled.

Under Hawaii law, a person commits second-degree animal cruelty if he or she "kills without need any animal other than insects, vermin, or other pests."

"The words vermin and pests are not unconstitutionally vague," Wilson said.

"So you found that the statute was not ambiguous?" Randy Oyama, defense attorney, asked.

"Correct," the judge replied.

Maloney's attorney says his client complained twice to the Makaha Valley Towers board, and called the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which doesn't issue hunting permits for peacocks. He says she acted in a humane fashion and that the death was quick.

"The motion to dismiss will be denied," Wilson said.

Maloney's attorney says he needs to consult with her regarding the ruling. Her misdemeanor trial is scheduled to begin next Wednesday.

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