Puppy mill case sent to the prosecutors - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Puppy mill case sent to the prosecutors

Senator Clayton Hee Senator Clayton Hee
Keoni Vaughn Keoni Vaughn

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eight weeks after the Hawaiian Humane Society rescued more than 150 dogs from a Waimanalo puppy mill the investigation is complete.  Now the case that outraged animal advocates is in the hands of the prosecutors.

On Friday the Hawaiian Humane Society officially handed its case on the Waimanalo puppy farm over to the prosecutor's office and it's no small feat because the evidence contains thousands of photographs and documents. 

"There are quite a few violations and some dogs have multiple violations.  We're confident in at least over 150 counts," said Keoni Vaughn, Hawaiian Humane Society.  "We've organized all the information and gathered all the evidence, put it together and packaged it in what we feel is pretty solid for the prosecutors."

Right now the only suspect is farm manager Dave Becker, however more could be added after the prosecutors review the evidence.  They may also start interviewing witnesses.  While it is a high profile case formal charges may not happen right away because there is so much to go over.

Meanwhile all of the dogs that were seized from the farm are now staying in specialized foster care.  Vaughn says nearly half of them needed emergency veterinary treatment.

"Our main goal is to make sure these animals never return back to that type of environment. We want to make sure the animals find forever homes and be treated like a family member as opposed to a breeding machine," said Vaughn.

The puppy mill law to stop breeding machines is about to pass through the state capitol.

"This bill will be perhaps the strongest legislation to control misbehavior by profiteers since statehood," said State Senator Clayton Hee, (D) Kahuku, Laie, Kaneohe.

It would require large scale breeders to be licensed, cap the number of dogs a farm can have and requires regular veterinarian checkups.

"It also limits the number of times you can breed the female over a period of time. In other words it cannot be one after another." said Sen. Hee.

The law would also allow the Hawaiian Humane Society full access to search a property instead of having to wait days for a warrant.

"The Humane Society now has teeth so when they go to a facility that reeks of smell or too much noise they can enter the property," said Sen. Hee. "There's every reason to believe that legislation requiring licensure of dog breeders will become a reality this year."

"It would definitely be huge," said Vaughn.

Anyone found breaking the puppy mill law would face fines and/or jail time.

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