Woman seriously injured in dog mauling near Nimitz viaduct

Woman seriously injured in dog mauling near Nimitz viaduct

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 66-year-old woman was seriously injured in a dog mauling on a bike path near the Nimitz viaduct Friday, just days after the state announced it would erect a fence to protect bikers from loose dogs in the area.

The incident happened near Kamehameha Highway and Middle Street, and paramedics confirmed she had bites on her leg and hand.

The woman was apparently injured shortly after construction on the fence got underway Friday.

On Tuesday, notices were posted telling homeless who live in the area that runs parallel to the Mapunapuna bike path that they've got to go -- and take their stuff with them.

But of the dozens of people who used to live under the Mapunapuna side of the Nimitz viaduct, only one man accepted shelter.

At the viaduct Friday, vacated encampments greeted crews tasked with clearing out trash and belongings left behind by homeless. The fence will extend from Ahua to Middle Street.

"It's all about safety. Safety of the bike path users in the primary objective of this project," said Tim Sakahara, Department of Transportation spokesman.

The idea for the fence came after the DOT said it received complaints about dangerous dogs in the area. So far this year, there have been at least three attacks, including the one that happened Friday.

The Hawaiian Humane Society was on site Friday for the start of the project, but told Hawaii News Now it didn't pick up any animals.

Now that access to the bridge has been blocked, neighbors worry that homeless in the area will end up on the sidewalks in front of businesses.

John Leary is the owner of Island Demo, which is adjacent to the viaduct.

"They steal batteries. They steal gasoline. They damage vehicles. They get a little crazy sometimes," Leary said. "I think they're going to be mad. And who knows what will happen then?"

City Councilman Joey Manahan supports the fence, but has reservations about the indirect impact it could have on his district.

"This is kind of the last stop for the homeless folks who are getting swept from Waikiki to Kakaako to here in the district. This is where they go," he said. "So the question is, What other parts of the district are going to be impacted by this decision?"

As construction gets underway, Leary says he's skeptical the state's plan will do much good. "No matter what kind of fence you put up there if they want to stay underneath the thing they're just going to cut it," he said.

DOT officials say fence will be complete by Nov. 19.  Estimated cost for the project: $200,000 and $300,000.

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