Friday, August 20, 2004

Police look into
theft and sale
of dog meat

Complaints allege someone
is stealing and killing animals

Honolulu police and the Hawaiian Humane Society say someone might be stealing and slaughtering dogs for their meat.

The humane society has received three complaints in Kalihi, Waianae and downtown Honolulu involving the sale of dog meat out of the back of a white van and the inhumane killing of stolen dogs whose meat was eaten, according to police.

Humane Society spokeswoman Jacque Smith said the agency received complaints during the last 12 months, but nothing substantial enough to build an investigation. The humane society teamed up with CrimeStoppers to get some results. A CrimeStoppers bulletin said yesterday that there is insufficient evidence to start an investigation, but police and the humane society are asking for the public's help in compiling information.

"For years we've been hearing rumors about people stealing dogs, selling dogs, eating dogs," Smith said.

Backyard slaughter of one's own animal for meat is legal if done humanely, meaning killing in the fastest possible way, Smith said. There is no law prohibiting people from killing their own dogs, she said.

"Does the humane society advocate shooting a dog in the head? No," she said. "But that may be a fast way."

Eating dog meat is also legal, she said.

Detective Letha DeCaires, Honolulu CrimeStoppers coordinator, said in one case the meat was allegedly sold or offered for sale to a restaurant.

She emphasized that the theft of an animal is illegal.

"While we are sensitive to some cultures which consider dog meat a delicacy, it is a crime to steal someone's dog, slaughter it, then sell it for food," DeCaires said.

Killing someone else's dog would amount to cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.

DeCaires said the theft is considered a petty misdemeanor if the animal or property is worth less than $100. If it is valued between $100 and $300, it is a misdemeanor with jail time of up to a year. If the animal is worth more than $300, the theft is a felony, with a penalty of up to five years in jail.

Carroll Cox, president of EnviroWatch, an environmental watchdog group, said he posed as someone interested in buying a dog for meat for his wife.

Cox went to the home of a man in Waianae and purchased a live dog and audio- and videotaped the transaction, he said.

"I went to that length because I wanted to show that it's occurring and nobody's doing anything about it," he said.

Cox alleged the man bought the dogs from drug addicts and sold them for between $20 and $40. The man allegedly told him he was shooting the dogs in the head and offered to gut them.

Cox said he planned to work with the humane society but decided to investigate on his own after society workers told him it was legal to shoot a dog for meat. He said he wanted to bring the matter to legislators.

Anyone with information on the theft or inhumane slaughter of dogs is asked to call the Hawaiian Humane Society at 946-2187 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cell phone.

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers


E-mail to City Desk


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