Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Mililani hunts
ways to end
dog attacks

A city bill proposes strict
controls on vicious canines
and fines for owners

By Lori Tighe


They heard their poi dog Dallas barking, and then it turned to cries. Jean Seeley looked in her backyard and the doghouse started to move.

Her husband lifted the doghouse, and underneath, two large hunting dogs had Dallas by the throat and hind legs. Dallas' cries turned to moans as the dogs ripped her 20-pound body apart.

Then Seeley watched in mounting horror from her kitchen window as the hunting dogs made a beeline for the neighbors' dog, Makamae, across the street.

"My heart sank as I listened to my neighbor and her son scream in terror," Seeley said.

The residents who both lost their dogs Nov. 28 told their story at a special meeting last night chaired by City Councilwoman Rene Mansho at Mililani Middle School to address the problem of vicious dog attacks. The Council will give a second reading in January to a bill that would impound vicious dogs and fine their owners.

After the tearful, angry, three-hour meeting, the pig hunter and owner of the killer dogs, who had been present all along, stood up and spoke.

In a low, embarrassed tone, Delman Andaya, 24, told the crowd of about 50 people, "I'm sorry for what my dogs did, and I'm willing to pay for the damage."

Andaya said he had hunted too close to the residential area and his dogs escaped. "It was an accident."

Pig hunters roamed freely in the mountains of Mililani for years, but now are being denied access by Castle & Cooke, the developer of many new Mililani homes.

Killing the wild and potentially dangerous pigs has been part of balancing ecology on the island for centuries, said Charly Espina, who represented the hunters at the meeting.

"Hunters are not bad people. Although this is a terrible tragedy, I ask you not to let one hunter represent us all. Which would you rather have, wild pigs coming out of the mountains or wild dogs?"

The Humane Society gave Andaya's dogs back to him immediately following the attacks because current law does not permit stronger action. Police fined Andaya $25 a dog for violating the leash law.

The new Council bill calls for owners of dogs who recklessly attack other pets to be fined up to $2,000 and/or jailed for as many as 30 days.

"There needs to be some accountability among dog owners," said Mike Betz, a Mililani resident. "I have a 7-week-old son and my wife takes him walking. They wouldn't stand a chance if they were attacked."

The stronger law is needed to control not just hunting dogs, but domestic dogs as well. They can brutally attack other pets and children, said a Humane Society spokesman.

In addition, Mililani resident Edward Wagner spoke in support of a bill targeting noisy dogs. He played a tape recording of a dozen howling and barking dogs his family has to endure "morning, noon and night."

Mansho called the special meeting to gather community ideas on how to avoid dog attacks until the Council can toughen the laws in February.

Residents were urged to call police and the Humane Society if they spot vicious stray dogs, or hunters with dogs going through residential neighborhoods.

The Humane Society also offers a dog-bite prevention program free to the public. The society recommends against residents separating dogs in a fight, because attacking dogs can turn on people.

"Some people say they live in fear, afraid to go out of their house because they might be attacked," Mansho said. "Our priority is health and safety."

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