Dog owner faces charges in alleged attack on detective


POSTED: Thursday, January 22, 2009

Prosecutors have charged a 32-year-old man who allegedly unleashed his dog on a plainclothes detective who then shot the animal after being bitten.

  ;  Joseph A. Flaherty was charged with two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, first-degree assault on a police officer and second-degree assault for the Jan. 14 attack. Bail was set at $75,000.

Honolulu police Detective Gary Lahens suffered from a deep wound that tore through muscle and capillaries in his lower abdomen, a source close to the investigation said. The wound continued to bleed and became infected, the source said.

Lahens remains on medical leave.

Hawaiian Humane Society spokeswoman Kawehi Yim said the pit-bull mix had a single wound to his shoulder and died Tuesday. Yim said a veterinarian removed the bullet but that the trauma was severe.

The incident began at about 7:30 p.m. when Flaherty and a woman were arguing while driving through Kapahulu, police said. After stopping at the Safeway parking lot at 888 Kapahulu Ave., the woman went inside and asked a clerk to call 911 because she feared for her safety, police said.

Lahens was at a coffee shop at the shopping center when he noticed a vehicle blocking traffic, said a police affidavit, which goes on to describe these events:

The officer saw a woman get out of the vehicle, then saw Flaherty get out with a dog.

Flaherty was yelling and kicking the car door, then threw a shopping cart into the middle of the road.

Lahens identified himself and displayed his badge to Flaherty, who began yelling and swearing at him.

Flaherty picked up a shopping cart and appeared ready to throw it at Lahens, who drew his service revolver, pointed it at Flaherty and ordered him to put the cart down.

He did.

The affidavit goes on to say that Lahens ordered Flaherty to keep the dog restrained, but Flaherty ignored him, made a move with his left hand and released the leash.

The motion served to “;sic”; the animal on Lahens, the source said.

The affidavit says Lahens pushed the dog away and fired one round. Lahens was taken to the Queen's Medical Center for treatment.