WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) - The case began this morning with a simple noise complaint about barking dogs. Two officers happened to be right down the road on a separate trespassing case. They got the noise complaint and quickly arrived at the farm. They heard the dogs then went in and were disgusted with what they saw.
The conditions were described as deplorable and inhumane with feces and urine spread throughout the kennels at the farm in Waimanalo. In some cases the dog's fur was so matted the vet couldn't get to the skin to assess the health conditions. Some dogs were limping, others had eye problems. In other case feces and urine were in the dog's food bowl and water dish.
"The animals can't even get out of their own waste and there are medical conditions related to that," said Pam Burns, Hawaiian Humane Society President.
The case has been ongoing almost three years. We even highlighted the story in August with undercover video from inside the facility which showed sick, injured and dead dogs. But it's been difficult for officers to cite the owners because of the relatively weak laws in Hawaii. This time investigators felt they had enough evidence.
"Yes it was worse and we felt it really does meet the standard for an animal cruelty charge," said Burns.
There were 153 dogs on the farm from various breeds. That number grew by the afternoon as a German shepherd was giving birth while we were there.
All the dogs, scared puppies and all, were being taken to the Hawaiian Humane Society's shelter much to the delight of neighbors.
"It would be such a relief. We have lived with this smell and noise for more than two years," said Ellen Yee, who lives right next door to the puppy farm. "It's really sad. They shouldn't be in these kinds of conditions."
"When you see this and you see cute puppies in the store window, that puppies mother is living a nightmare, some over and over and over again in these horrible conditions, much less for the owners to make money off of," said Burns.
The farm is located at 47-761 Mahailua Street in Waimanalo. The house in front of the property is a rental with tenants who are not involved with the farm. The dogs were kept in kennels in the back of the property.
The farm owner Sheryl Luke-Kalani has been cited for construction violations for have three buildings without soundproofing and air conditioning that were located within 100 feet of the property line. She has been fined $150 a day since December 31. She also owns The Pet Spot at Pearl Highlands Center in Pearl City.
Dave Becker, the farm's manager, believes the whole thing is a setup. He says officers came early in the morning before his workers were able to clean up after the dogs. He says he has been looking to find the dogs new owners after all the publicity, but he says he does not want the Hawaiian Humane Society to have the dogs because of their policy to euthanize animals. He says he is hiring an attorney and vows to fight the charges.
The farm owners and managers could face a $2,000 fine and up to a year in jail per dog found to be in violation.
The Hawaiian Humane Society will have to make room at its shelter for all the dogs. They cannot be adopted out because they are part of the criminal investigation. In the meantime it is urging the public to drop off supplies like wire kennels (please no plastic crates), stainless steel bowls, clean towels, and unopened/ unexpired dog food. Donations can be dropped off at 2700 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu. The phone number is (808) 946-2187.