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Wednesday, May 15, 2002



Couple charged with
85 counts of cruelty

96 dogs and cats were taken from
the Maui couple's home


By Gary T. Kubota
gkubota@starbulletin.com

WAILUKU >> A Haiku couple who had 96 dogs and cats removed from their home have been charged with 85 counts of animal cruelty -- the largest number of alleged animal mistreatment cases ever on Maui.

Marlyn "Jean" Bermudez, 58, and her husband, Timothy, 33, are scheduled to appear for arraignment in Wailuku District Court on May 28. The two were served with penal summons Friday at their house in Haiku.

If convicted, each misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and one year in jail.

Maui Humane Society executive director Keith Pocock said he was happy authorities were pursuing the cases.

"This kind of cruelty to animals isn't a good thing and should be stopped," he said. "It's a shame what happened to these animals."

Of the seven dogs kept by the Maui Humane Society, two have been adopted, one had to be euthanized and four are still for looking for new owners, Pocock said.

"We've tried our best," he said.

Humane Society workers removed 82 dogs and 14 cats Jan. 4 from the Bermudezes' three-bedroom home at West Lelehuna Place, including a dog in the hallway that apparently had been killed by other dogs.

Within several days, Human Society workers had euthanized 74 dogs and 12 cats.

Officials alleged there were feces and urine in various rooms and the animals had a variety of health problems, including heartworms and sores.

Animal cruelty investigator Aimee Anderson said she received calls recently from neighbors who have heard what sounds to be dogs and puppies coming once again from the house.

"The neighbors are calling, saying they're concerned about the puppies," Anderson said.

Marlyn Bermudez declined to comment yesterday and referred calls to her attorney, David Sereno. Sereno was unavailable for comment.

In a previous interview, Bermudez said she called the Humane Society for help after the dogs began fighting with each other because they were hungry.

She said the animals began to multiply because she could not afford to spay or neuter her pets and they increased through interbreeding. Friends also gave her more dogs, she said.

She said she and her husband were not monsters, and that she loved her animals and treated the dogs' sores with ointments and a cactus extract.

"I never abused my dogs," she said. "I loved them. They all had names."



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