Rogue hunters shatter peace of pet sanctuary
THE SUN hasn't quite cleared the ridge, but the birds are starting to twitter and flit among the trees and a fly hums lazily by on a breeze. The early-morning dedicated jogger or two is out and about, but the little kids on their bikes and the dog walkers haven't made it to our valley yet.
It's a quiet Sunday morning, and all the animals are sleeping peacefully at the Hawaii Animal Sanctuary. Cats entwined into a big fur ball, the dogs stretched out in their yards, the pigs snoring lightly under the house and the rabbit nibbling at her hay.
Then the screaming starts. Panic ensues. Rogue hunters have trespassed, ignoring the "No Hunting" signs, and their dogs are ripping apart our pigs on our property.
Attempts to pull one of the dogs off results in the dog turning on the resident. Even using ropes and throwing the dog away from our pig is useless. The dog charges back, ripping and tearing while the other pigs scatter in terror.
The hunters finally get the dog off, while our pet pig lies in a pool of blood. Then the rogue hunters run to a neighboring field. In a last, desperate attempt to escape the horror, our injured pig climbs out from under the house and runs -- right into the jaws of death.
By the time the police come, the hunters have left with the bodies of two of our gang. All that remains are pools of blood, a 15-inch bowie knife covered in blood to the hilt and a tiny black kitten dead from a bite wound.
The police classify it as a "vicious dog" attack. They said if we had more information, we could have had the owners put the dog down. My thought is, since humans trained these dogs and humans brought these dogs to our valley, and humans ran a 15-inch bowie knife into my friends, we should put down whom?
IT'S QUIET now -- not a sound to be heard at the sanctuary except for the low-level chain-saw sound of thousands of flies gorging themselves on the blood. For those of you who believe the myth of the dangerous and destructive pig (they are timid, intelligent and can't even begin to hold a candle to our level of environmental destruction) and for those who think there are too many cats in the world, so what loss is it to have another kitten die, I have some questions.
Our sanctuary is near heavily populated areas. We have many people visiting our valley daily. Rogue hunters have used triple-barb-tipped arrows, scoped rifles and now dogs and knives to kill. They often do not make their marks at all or just seriously injure the animals.
If you don't care about my animal friends being murdered at a sanctuary, will you care if the little kids riding their bikes get to witness dogs attacking animals and then watch them being stabbed to death? Or perhaps one of the dog walkers might lose a beloved pet to a stray barbed arrow? Or maybe that late-evening jogger might get dropped by a bullet? Oops, sorry -- it was just an accident.
I HAVE news for the hunters. Your cultural right to hunt stops dead at my doorstep. When animals aren't safe even in a sanctuary and people are endangered, it is time to ban all hunting near heavily populated areas -- that is, in all of Oahu.
If we don't proceed quickly on this issue, those clouds of flies might just be there for you.
Gina Maria Lay is president of Hawaii Animal Sanctuary.