Police Crack Down On Homeless Pet Owners

LEEWARD OAHU (KHNL) -- Most leeward campers consider their tents their home and many keep pets for protection. But complaints poured in about stray and aggresive dogs, even bites and attacks.

KHNL went out with enforcement officers as they educate pet owners about park rules.

In extreme cases, police seize dogs from the beach. More than 35 so far this year.

They end up at the Humane Society and unless the owner picks them up and pays a fee, the dogs are likely put up for adoption or put to sleep.

But even the officers say they don't want that to happen so they educate the pet owners.

Family pets Papi and Ika frolic in the shade of their tent. Under the law they must be licensed.

Enforcement officers issue citations and educate owners.

"Complaints were coming in about the dog feces all over the beach, several community members getting bit and several community members getting attacked," said Officer Mike Kahikina.

Many homeless campers have pets.

"I love my dogs, they are kids not dogs to me. I worry they take my dogs. My husband number one he depends on them," said Ann Pau.

Some are for companionship, others serve as security.

"Why they take the dogs away from the beach we need protection as much as people with homes," said Pau.

Campers come home to find police seized dogs left tied up.

"Got some dogs taken away because we are homeless just like stripping our kids away from us," said Dino Palisbo.

It's okay to walk dogs on a leash but illegal to have them in a park overnight.

"If I wasn't here, they would have taken it so I gotta take the ticket they leave us alone," said Palisbo.

Lots of hard feelings and a misunderstanding of park rules.

"So after the last couple of months, we have been trying to work with Humane Society, work with, notify residents we will be enforcing park laws and one of the rules was loose dogs in the park," said Officer Kahikina

"We just check out the animal situation see if they are being cared for properly make sure they are not running loose, chasing people," said Humane Socieity Investigator Neal Chung.