Puppy farm defendants plead no contest

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The family that ran an infamous Waimanalo dog breeding operation has decided not to challenge the animal cruelty charges against them.  Their change of plea qualifies them for a 153 year prison sentence but their attorney believes they won't spend any time behind bars.

The Hawaiian Humane Society rescued 153 dogs from the farm in Waimanalo last February.  Today the defendants associated with the farm plead no contest to all 153 charges of second degree animal cruelty.

"Largely it's because, it would be largely a waste of court resources, a waste of resources to go through a trial where basically the outcome there wouldn't be any recovery. Extending more resources to fight a case for a company that doesn't have any resources to begin with is kind of a pointless venture," said Jason Burks, Defense Attorney representing Bradley International. "The corporation doesn't exist anymore. There are no assets. The dogs were the last remaining asset of the corporation."

The punishment for animal cruelty is $2,000 and a year in prison for each count but Burks says a corporation can't get jail time and because the company has no money it likely won't pay the fine.

The Hawaiian Humane Society, which says it spent more than $400,000 caring for the dogs, doesn't believe Bradley International is broke.

"That corporation made thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of dollars on these puppies that were sold and if they're saying the company is dissolved they went through hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of money to do that so I just don't buy it. I really don't buy it," said Pam Burns, Hawaiian Humane Society President and CEO.

Vernon Luke and his son Shannon Luke are officers for Bradley International.  Vernon Luke's daughter Sheryl Luke Kalani is listed as the owner for the puppy farm property in Waimanalo.  She also owned the Pet Spot at the Pearl Highlands Shopping Center where the puppies were allegedly sold.  But now Sheryl opened a new store called the Aloha Pet Shop in Aiea.  There were 18 puppies in the window for sale today.  But since Sheryl is not listed as an officer of Bradley International she or her pet store will not face any of the penalties from the animal cruelty case.

David Becker, who is listed as the Vice President and Secretary for Bradley International, has allegedly moved back to the mainland and has not been served with the lawsuit.

None of the defendants were in court for the plea.

"If they are pleading no contest to 153 counts of animal cruelty they certainly must have felt quite guilty about those charges," said Burns. "I hope it sends the message that you should never be breeding animals for money really the welfare of the animal must come first and just to make money off the back of these really poor creatures that were caged for their entire life in filthy conditions I hope it sends a very strong message to the community don't do it."

All of the dogs were forfeited on September 15 and have since been adopted out. Bradley International dissolved September 28.

The Aloha Pet Shop, LLC was established October 12. It opened for business at the Aiea location December 1.

The officers of Bradley International will find out their punishment on February 15.

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