Saturday, April 26, 2003

Man accused of animal
cruelty goes on trial

WAILUKU >> The trial of a Maui man accused of 85 counts of animal cruelty began yesterday in a Wailuku District Court.

Timothy Bermudez, 34, a warehouseman, is contesting charges brought against him by animal control officers who removed 96 cats and dogs from a Haiku residence in January 2002.

Bermudez's wife, Marlyn Jean Bermudez, 59, pleaded no contest to 20 counts of animal cruelty earlier this month.

Her sentencing has been scheduled for July 22.

During the trial, Maui Humane Society receptionist Gloria Chee said she received a telephone call from Marlyn Bermudez on Jan. 4, 2002, asking for help because the dogs in her house were fighting.

"She was kind of hysterical. She was kind of in a panic," Chee said.

Chee said her supervisor told two animal control officers and her to go to the Haiku house.

When she arrived there, Chee said, Marlyn Bermudez agreed to sign authorization for the removal of the animals.

Chee said she called the police for assistance because she was worried about Timothy Bermudez's reaction to the seizure of the animals.

"He's come to the shelter before, and he has a temper," she said.

Animal control officer Beverly Green said that when she went to the residence at West Lelehuna Street, she saw a cat and a dog with bloody flesh wounds, and mud and feces covering the kitchen floor.

Green said the doors to kitchen cabinets had been replaced with chicken wire, and the cabinets were used to confine a number of cats.

"Everything was really filthy," she said.

Green said she worked from about 4:30 p.m. Jan. 4 until 1 a.m. Jan. 5 removing animals from the home.

Maui Humane Society officials later found homes for a cat and two dogs, and four other dogs were sent to a Utah animal shelter.

The remaining 75 dogs and 13 cats, many in poor health, were destroyed, according to the society.

Timothy Bermudez's trial continues at 9:30 a.m. July 27 before Judge Rhonda Loo.


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