Worker allegedly knew butchered dog was a pet
One of two former Moanalua Golf Club maintenance workers accused of stealing and butchering a pet dog in December knew the dog belonged to a club member, the club's general manager testified yesterday.
Stephen Burke took the stand in the theft and animal-cruelty case of fired employees Nelson Domingo and Saturnino Palting.
The two men were in court to ask Circuit Judge Randal Lee to throw out statements they allegedly made to Burke before they were arrested. The hearing continues tomorrow, with Domingo scheduled to take the stand.
Lee denied requests by Domingo and Palting to dismiss the animal-cruelty charges and to close yesterday's hearing to the public.
"There is sufficient evidence from witnesses who had indicated that defendant Palting was holding the dog down while defendant Domingo stuck the dog in his chest or stabbed the dog in his chest," Lee said. "The dog was thereafter cut into pieces by both men."
Trial is scheduled to begin next week.
Burke said that when he arrived at the golf club Dec. 16, someone told him there was a dog tethered to a tree next to the parking lot. He said as he was moving the dog to a maintenance shack near the club house, new member Frank Manuma approached him and said the dog was his pet.
Burke said he gave Manuma permission to have his dog there for the day. He said he then went to look for Domingo and Palting, the only two maintenance workers on duty that day.
Burke said he found Domingo and told him the dog belonged to a member and it was OK for the dog to be at the shack.
Golf club cook Marcos Norbert said he saw Domingo and Palting having lunch at the maintenance shack and they told him they were going to kill the dog.
Later in the day, Norbert said, he saw Domingo and Palting load the dog into Palting's car.
"They wen' put 'em inside the trunk," he recalled.
When Burke discovered the dog missing and learned that Norbert saw Domingo and Palting take it, he said he tried to contact the two maintenance workers, who by then were off duty.
When Domingo and Palting returned to the golf club, Burke said, he questioned both men, who claimed the dog got out of the car and ran away. Burke testified that when he asked them why they took the dog, "Nelson said for feeding" the two defendants.
Questioned separately, the men had different answers for where the dog ran off, Burke said. He then fired them and turned them over to police, he said.