City crews sweep remote homeless camp near Keehi Transfer Station

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Equipped with chainsaws and tractors workers cut through the tangled brush exposing part of an elaborate homeless camp behind Keehi Transfer Station.

People have been living on the land for years but the city says this is the first time it's ever been swept.

"There were TV's with generators. Laptop computer. They even have boats and docks on the opposite side," said Harold Han, Hawaiian Humane Society.

The Mapunapuna bike path runs parallel to the encampment and has become notorious for dangerous dogs. Han says over the past year and a half the Humane Society has  responded to 8 attacks. That's not counting the ones HPD's been called to. Two people were mauled in the last couple weeks.

"It's scary," said Mike Spinola, "What usually happens is they roam around together in a pack. All it takes is for one dog to start like a bark and then the rest come rushing in and attack."

This week the Hawaiian Humane Society discovered some folks living at the camp were running a puppy mill - selling the dogs to a local pet store. Of the estimated 80 dogs at there only 32 were surrendered ahead of the sweep.

"We expected more dogs but they took them with them.  And more puppies as well," said Han, "This is one of the reasons we always stress for people to adopt and to really buy responsibly. Do your homework and know where a dog is coming from."

Han said campers also surrendered 19 chickens he suspected were being used for fighting.

The city got its first reports of aggressive dogs 13 months ago but didn't move in because of confusion over whether federal permits were needed for work near water.

The Army Corps of Engineers gave the city the go ahead last summer. But then officials say other areas took priority adding it took time to gather the needed equipment.

On the other side of the bike path is the Nimitz viaduct, state property where dogs continue to roam.

"There are probably about 50," said Spinola.

We asked the Department of Transportation if they're planning on doing a sweep but didn't get a response.

The Humane Society says they can't go on the land without permission and haven't been asked to help with the dogs on the state side.

Han says he doesn't want this story to give all homeless pet owners a bad name saying many of the people he encounters are responsible with their animals.

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