Woman’s effort
to claim 27 dogs
and 2 cats fails

Hawaiian Humane Society officers
are looking into animal cruelty charges

» Inspectors respond in 2001
» Owner says he was bitten in deal


Friday, May 16, 2003

» Animal cruelty is a misdemeanor under state law. A story on Page A-1 May 9 incorrectly stated that animal cruelty is a Class C felony.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Lucy Kagan went to the Hawaiian Humane Society yesterday demanding the return of the 27 dogs and two cats removed from her Hawaii Kai townhouse Wednesday.

She left empty-handed.

"Our Humane investigators read her the cruelty law, explained why they are investigating and expressed concern over the environment the animals were kept in," said Eve Holt, Humane Society spokeswoman.

The animals were removed after firefighters responding to a fire at the Villa Marina townhouse at Kawaihae Place found the animals living in squalid conditions.

Firefighters found the roach-infested home littered with trash and furniture. And the townhouse reeked of animal urine and feces.

The Humane Society opened an animal cruelty investigation, Holt said. Cruelty to animals is a Class C felony under state law. Investigators are also looking into whether the home was a puppy mill that sold dogs that were ill or dying.

Kagan, 50, has other legal troubles. She was charged by an Oahu grand jury with second-degree theft last month for allegedly buying more than $300 in merchandise at Kaimuki Dry Goods in January 2001, then later stopping payment on the check she wrote to pay for the items.

The animals taken from her home are being kept at the Humane Society shelter until ownership can be established. Kagan claimed ownership of some of the animals and indicated that the others were boarding or had been sold, Holt said.

One puppy and an adult dog were sent to a private veterinary clinic. The puppy is being treated for dehydration, and the adult dog is undergoing tests.

The staff has received dozens of calls from people offering to adopt the animals. However, the Humane Society does not own the dogs and cannot make them available for adoption.

It is not even taking the names of the callers.

When Humane Society investigators took the animals away from the townhouse, they had one cat and what appeared to be 26 dogs. Three of the dogs were nursing young puppies. When investigators separated the dogs at the shelter, they found a fourth dog nursing a single newborn, Holt said.

Also, investigators who remained at the townhouse recovered a second cat.

The state Department of Health's Vector Control Branch inspected Kagan's townhouse six times between November 2001 and April 2002 in response to complaints from neighbors.

The first complaint, on Oct. 11, 2001, from the neighbor at 6207 Kawaihae Place, reported dog feces and urine odor, flies and mosquitos coming from the unit.

Inspector Mark Leong investigated the home and issued abatement notices to Kagan; her ex-husband Scott Kagan, who owns the unit but who lives on the mainland; the property manager, Hawaiiana Management Co.; and the Villa Marina Condominium Association.

Leong recommended Kagan clean up the feces, apply a deodorizer on the lanai and empty containers collecting rainwater.

He sent Kagan final warning letters to correct the odor and feces problem but could not issue a formal violation because "the problem was intermittent," he said.

On Dec. 18, 2001, Kagan asked for a temporary restraining order against a Kawaihae Place neighbor, claiming she was being harassed.

The neighbor also filed a TRO request against Kagan. In April 2002 the neighbor moved out of the Villa Marina complex.

However, Leong continued his investigation until October.

According to the Vector Control Branch, continuing problems at the unit were being addressed by the condominium association.

Association attorney Randy Sing said the group decided Wednesday to file a complaint with Circuit Court against Kagan and her ex-husband for the permanent removal of animals due to health and safety reasons.

"We just want to make sure that we're not faced with this situation again," Sing said.

Hawaiian Humane Society


Health inspectors first
respond to complaints in 2001

The Hawaii Kai townhome where 27 dogs and two cats were confiscated Wednesday has been inspected several times by the state Department of Health's Vector Control Branch following complaints. Here is what inspectors found:

>> Nov. 14, 2001: A rancid odor of urine and feces was detected coming from Unit D-105 of 6209 Kawaihae Place, and urine stains and multiple piles of dog feces were seen on the rear lanai. At least two containers of standing water were seen on top of a pile of stored items.

>> Dec. 4, 2001: About a dozen dog feces were seen on the rear lanai of the unit, and a strong odor of urine and feces was detected. Three containers of standing water were seen on the pile of stored items.

>> Dec. 19, 2001: The odor from the rear lanai was significantly reduced. The lanai appeared recently washed, and only one dog feces was seen. However, a light odor of pet urine and feces was still detectable, and small containers of standing water were still not emptied.

>> Jan. 31, 2002: An odor of dog urine and feces mixed with a strong smell of waste water were detected coming from the rear lanai. Three containers of standing water were green with algae. Also, an odor of cat urine and feces was detected coming from the front lanai.

>> Oct. 11, 2002: Inspectors detected no odor of dog feces reported in an anonymous complaint.

>> April 22, 2002: Inspectors found no unusual activity after laying rat traps.

Source: State Department of Health's Vector Control Branch


Pearl City owner says he
was bitten in purebred deal

A Pearl City resident says he is glad that the woman who sold him a sick miniature Pinscher has been exposed to the public.

"This lady is falsely selling dogs," said William Gelinas.

Gelinas and others who purchased what they believed to be purebred animals from Lucy Kagan say they have yet to receive registration papers from the Animal Kennel Club.

Gelinas said he called Kagan on Feb. 9 after he saw a newspaper advertisement for a purebred miniature Pinscher.

Kagan, who told Gelinas her name was Tara, said the dog was registered with AKC, he said.

Gelinas said he wanted to meet her at her Hawaii Kai home to see the puppy's parents, but Kagan said one was with her uncle while the other was on the Big Island.

Gelinas said he ended up meeting her at the Jack in the Box in Waimanalo because she said an emergency had come up.

He said he spent $750 on the miniature Pinscher and intended to enter "Fozy" in a dog show; however, he did not receive his dog's registration papers.

Gelinas said Kagan came up with multiple excuses when he called her for Fozy's AKC papers.

"She said it was coming. She said her accountant had it. She said it was sent out the next day. She said the wrong person signed the paperwork for the dog."

Gelinas also learned Fozy was ill after he took the dog home.

"We had to take him to the veterinarian three times because he would scream every time we touched him," he said.

Kagan could not be reached for comment. She had an ad in yesterday's newspaper for an American Staffordshire terrier for $325 and a miniature toy Pinscher for $650.

According to the state attorney general's office, Kagan has also used the names Lucy Harding, Lucy Kayan and Lucy King.

Michael Profetto, manager and head veterinarian technician of the Hawaii Kai Veterinary Clinic, recommends that people research before buying a purebred dog.

Profetto said a dog should be at least 6 to 8 weeks old before a breeder sells it. "Anyone who tries to get the puppy out before that usually does it for money," he said. A dog tends to be more aggressive and may undergo developmental problems if it is separated from its mother before it is 6 weeks old, he said.

Gelinas said he now realizes that he should have found out more about miniature Pinschers before purchasing one.

"We were kind of oblivious to the whole thing," he said. "At least he has a home. He's a good dog."

Tips for buying purebred dogs

Michael Profetto, manager and head veterinarian technician of the Hawaii Kai Veterinary Clinic, provides the following tips for purchasing a purebred dog:

>> Make sure you see one or both of the puppy's parents.

>> Check the living conditions of the puppy.

>> Ask the breeder if the animal has been taken to a veterinarian to check for any congenital defects.

>> Check if the puppy is at least between 6 to 8 weeks old. The animal could experience developmental problems if it is separated from its mother before it is 6 weeks old.

>> Avoid any breeder who is not upfront with the animal's paperwork.

>> Make sure the animal is well nourished, bright-eyed and has a shiny coat.

>> Do research at libraries or call local dog clubs concerning breeding standards.

>> Check the Animal Kennel Club Web site.

>> Check with your local veterinarian staff since they have experience with different breeds.

>> Be cautious of information on purebred animals from pet stores.

Star-Bulletin staff


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --