Waimanalo animal sanctuary stuck in land dispute

Waimanalo animal sanctuary stuck in land dispute

WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A farm caring for unwanted animals in Waimanalo is being forced to find a new home. Claude Colton created the sanctuary which now houses about 100 animals. Visitors stop by and feed them for free. Colton's uncles, Westin and Nowlin Correa, have been letting him use part of their 104 acre parcel which is leased from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. But the Correa's revocable permit was canceled in 2009 due to several violations, including commercial activity on the property.

"Emotionally, I'm sad that if this is gone, there is no other place like this," said Colton.

The DHHL issued this statement:

"In July of this year, the Correas, through their attorney, agreed to vacate the premises as of September 25, 2014. We are aware that they have since replaced that attorney with another and are trying a different tactic to remain on the parcel. While it is unfortunate, the department and Commission take the court order and the responsibility to our beneficiaries with the highest regard. As we stated in prior actions we take no pleasure in having to do this. This is simply a property management matter where the persons who received favorable consideration from the department and the beneficiaries we represent, simply failed to live up to their kuleana and responsibilities they agreed to when accepting their disposition. It is regrettable that it has taken this long to work through the legal process. However, this matter was decided five years ago and we are simply doing our duty as stewards of this land."

State Rep. Chris Lee (D-Waimanalo, Kailua) contacted the department on Colton's behalf. Community members have also started a petition to save the farm.

"It's really tragic that such good people with such good intentions get caught up in this sort of thing with technical issues and legal issues. We really want to do our best to make sure that we keep them in our community," said Lee.

"I can understand where they're coming from, but yet on the other side, it's sad to see somebody displaced who is trying to do a good thing," said Cindy Sugimoto, a worker at Waimanalo Feed Supply.

A DHHL spokesman said it took five years to work through the legal process to get the Correas to vacate the property, and that any change would have to go through the Hawaiian Homes Commission.

"I understand that life changes every day, but if we can work together and understand what each other wants or needs, maybe we can come to an agreement," said Colton.

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