Volunteers: Humane Society wrongfully took dogs in raid
MAKAHA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's been almost a month since hundreds of dogs were seized from Friends for Life, a no-kill animal shelter in Makaha.
Shelter owner David "Lanny" Moore is still awaiting animal cruelty charges.
In the meantime, volunteers at the shelter who also live on the property are speaking out, alleging that their own dogs were wrongfully taken in the raid. They also said the dogs that were taken were therapy pets they need to help them with documented mental health issues.
Volunteer Linda Nakamoto said she's still shaken up after the raid in October, in which Hawaiian Humane Society workers confiscated nearly 300 dogs.
"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw four or five men that passed that were dressed up like soldiers. They had masks on, they had guns pulled out," she said.
Volunteer Paulette Chafin added, "They told me to come out and they stood there pointing guns at me. And I asked them what was going on and they said you'll find out later."
"They kept asking if I had guns or stuff," said Jamie Alexander, "and I said, 'No, what would I do with guns when I'm scared to death of them?' And I started explaining to them why I was scared of them."
The three women said they suffer from severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Alexander said she watched her father get shot to death when she was only 7 years old. She said her dog, Shining Star, comforts her when she needs it. She also said the Humane Society taking their personal therapy dogs during the raid wasn't right.
"I even sat there and I started trying to show them my paper that I had…all of his shot records, letter from my psych and everything, and they didn't even acknowledge it," Alexander said.
The society is now fostering out the dogs that were seized. It said a little more than half the dogs have already been fostered out.
The three women have mixed feelings about it.
"In a way it's good because he's not stuck in a cage," Chafin said. "as long as I can get him back. It just scares me because I know their reputation."
Nakamoto said, "Our personal dogs are left in our rooms because that's for us, for therapy reasons. A lot of us have mental issues, I have mental issues and my dogs help me, stabilizes me for my overall well-being."
The women do not blame the officers and believe they were just given wrong information. They said one of the officers even bought them lunch that day and Friends for Life always had a good relationship with police.
"Police officers bring them to us. If we were so bad, why are the police officers bringing us dogs? We even named one after one of the policemen," Chafin said.
In October, the society released photos of some dogs that were covered in ticks, appeared to have skin problems, and look malnourished. But the volunteers say those dogs just came to them and they were in the process of helping them.
The humane society, meanwhile, said the dogs were rescued from "filthy, inhumane living conditions" and are currently part of an open animal cruelty investigation. It said the dogs will need to remain in protective care until further notice.
"Therapy, comfort and service animals certainly deserve the same level of care as other animals. Our highest priority is to provide the dogs with a safe environment where they are able to rest, recuperate and receive the medical attention they need."
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