HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Makaha woman charged in the beating death of a peacock asked a judge to throw out the case Monday. Her attorney says the Honolulu Zoo kills peacocks on its property, but is never charged with animal cruelty.
The zoo's curator was called to the witness stand to testify about the methods the zoo uses to euthanize its peacocks. At any given time, there are between 30 and 50 peacocks on the Waikiki property.
Believed to be direct descendents of Princess Kaiulani's peacocks, these colorful birds call the Honolulu Zoo their home. But zoo officials say they've had to euthanize seven peacocks over the past year by chemical injection or through carbon dioxide inhalation.
"From time to time, after consulting with our zoo director and our curator, we make some decisions to euthanize either injured birds or birds that may be becoming too aggressive with visitors or that may harm our collection," Sidney Quintal, city enterprise services director, said.
Sandra Maloney is charged with animal cruelty. Fellow residents at Makaha Valley Towers say she beat a peacock to death with a baseball bat because she was fed up with its loud cries.
The defense says the peacocks are wild birds, not pets, and the law is vague as to what conduct is prohibited. Attorney Randy Oyama says the method his client used was quick and humane.
"I would not like to comment on that," Quintal said. "I wasn't there and I think it would be inappropriate for us to offer an opinion."
The American Veterinary Medical Association finds a blow to the head is an acceptable method of euthanasia in certain cases.
"When properly performed, loss of consciousness is rapid," the group noted in its euthanasia guidelines. However, it said, "personnel performing euthanasia by use of a blow to the head must be properly trained."
"Skull concussion is not one of the recommended methods we use here at the zoo," Quintal said.
Prosecutors argue the peacocks were already there when the Maloneys moved to Makaha Valley back in 2004.
The judge is expected to rule on the defense's motion to dismiss on Thursday.