Humane Society sued over Oahu animal rescue

Norman Pang
Norman Pang

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

MAILI (KHNL) - A legal twist in the large animal rescue on Oahu that took place in July - the Hawaiian Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States, and others who were involved in the rescue are now being sued.

It's a rescue that Norman Pang says was maliciously twisted.

On July 19, 2009, animal rescue teams removed more than 400 animals from Norman and his wife Bonnie Pang's home in Maili.

The couple was operating Animal Haven, Inc., a non-profit shelter and hospice with a no-kill policy. After his wife died, Pang could no longer care for the animals alone.

So he called Oahu SPCA for help. Pang surrendered the animals, six days after his wife passed away.

But he says the agencies he invited to his home, double-crossed him.

"I trusted the people. I gave them access to my property. I even gave them my kennels and stuff so they could help with the removal, yeah? And instead, they turn this thing right around and I get all the knives in my back and I'm wondering why," said Pang.

Pang and his attorney, Michael Ostendorp, has filed a federal lawsuit against the animal agencies involved in the rescue, including Pamela Burns, President and CEO of the Hawaiian Humane Society, Inga Gibson, Hawaii State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, and Rebecca Rhoades, Executive Director of Kauai Humane Society, for defamation of character and deprivation of his constitutional rights.

For example, on the Hawaiian humane society's website, Pang says he's labeled as an animal murderer.

"I'm sick and tired of the harrassment, name calling, calling me names such as murderer, collector, hoarder, and such names like that, none of which are true," he said.

In 1995, the Hawaiian Humane Society took Pang's wife to court, accusing her of animal abuse and neglect.

But a judge dismissed the case and she was acquitted.

In a statement, the Hawaiian Humane Society says:

"This lawsuit is unfounded...this case posted on is our response to questions we received from the community. We stand by our responses.

Keeping more animals than you can properly care for, resulting in suffering, neglect and abuse is a crime that should be punished."