Video raises new concerns over animal care at quarantine station

Video raises new concerns over animal care at quarantine station
Published: Mar. 30, 2015 at 8:45 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 30, 2015 at 9:00 PM HST
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HALAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow)

Christopher Rivera shot cell phone video recently that shows a canine in a blood stained kennel at the Animal Quarantine Station in Halawa.

"Like a one-foot trail all the way from the gate, all the way down into his house. It wasn't just fresh, it was dried up blood." said Rivera, who is a certified dog handler.

Acting state veterinarian Isaac Maeda said the dog in the video was agitated but wasn't neglected or abused by his staff.

"The animal looked like it had worn some nails down and was subsequently bleeding," he said.

Rivera posted the video on Facebook. It drew dozens of comments negative of the quarantine station. Several posts are from dog owners who complain of inferior care for their pets and animal mistreatment. One woman said she saw a quarantine worker kick her dog in the head. Another person claims to have witnessed a worker moving down a kennel run, spraying dogs with a hose.

"That's not something we would allow," Maeda said.

Shelly Boggus said last year her husband found their bulldog, Lola, nearly unconscious with a high fever.

"Lola's kennel was one of those that lined the street. And from the parking lot my husband could hear her gasping for air. She was leaning up against the kennel, unresponsive to him, glassy eyed, salivating in obvious distress. She was bleeding from her paws," Boggus said.

She said quarantine workers were slow to act and their complaints weren't fully investigated.

"Since August until now we have been raising awareness that something is not right there," Boggus said.

Maeda said his staff did everything they could for the Boggus's pet.

"From the station's standpoint, they didn't do anything in mistreating the animal. And they did what they needed to do to take care of it," he said. "Our operations supervisor, our veterinarians on staff, and the manager for that program and myself, we're all very open to any kind of complaints or concerns. Even daily, even minor things, they'll address it."

At Maeda's request, the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspected the quarantine station last year, but state officials denied our request for the report. State Rep. Tom Brower and other lawmakers also want more information from quarantine staff.

"It's hard because I think the state is caught in a tough place," he said. "If there is mismanagement then we have to look at it and make the changes."

Maeda said USDA recommendations only addressed facility upgrades and inspectors had no issues with quarantine care. As for the dog in the bloody kennel, Maeda said the owner isn't complaining, but he would not provide us with a name.

"She has been satisfied and happy with the care of the animal, and she has more than one animal (in quarantine)," he said.

The Animal Quarantine Station houses an average of 200 to 300 animals a day. The state mandates incoming pets be quarantined for up to 120 days to prevent rabies from entering the state.

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