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dogs Neighbors: Starved dogs always a problem
Soares arrested, dogs released to humane society
Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 1:00 am
Tom Hasslinger – The Garden Island | 7 comments
KAPAA — Neighbors of the Kapaa man arrested for animal cruelty after one dog starved to death in his care said the man’s canines were a constant source of complaints around the neighborhood.
Several residents near Waipouli Road said the dogs would attack chickens, even nip at horses, in search of food.
The animals’ cries and howls would sometimes last through the night as well, they said.
All spoke to The Garden Island on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive issue in the secluded, tree-covered Wailua Homesteads neighborhood.
“There were so many complaints, I called in several times,” said one neighbor, who chased the dogs from her property on more than one occasion. “They would kill all my chickens, they were so hungry.”
Russell Soares, 35, was arrested Tuesday and is facing two misdemeanor charges of second-degree cruelty to animals after officers removed eight dogs, one of which was dead, from his property on the 5000 block of Waipouli Road. One count stems from the deceased dog who starved to death, according to the Kauai Humane Society, and one count is for an emaciated dog KHS staff said would have likely died if not for the intervention.
Penny Cistaro, KHS executive director, said more charges could be filed pending investigation, and that the dogs will remain in KHS’s care until the litigation is settled. A court date is planned for January.
Soares could not be reached for comment Friday, but his mother, Marcia Jimenez, told The Garden Island that the dogs went missing for a week and a half after her son took them on a hunting trip. Some of the dogs, she said, were emaciated when Soares brought them back to her home around Saturday night.
“We fed them Sunday, we fed them Monday, and then, I guess one of them died,” she said. “I’m not the kind of person who would let an animal starve. I don’t care what anybody thinks or says. I’m just not that type of person. In fact, I just bought a 50-pound bag of dog food Monday.”
Police were called to the residence Tuesday after KHS officers made contact. They left one dog who appeared healthy at the home, authorities said.
Jimenez said the healthy dog was the one dog who didn’t go hunting, and therefore, didn’t disappear in the forest for a week. She said she was unsure where her son went hunting, but that he searched for them over the week they were gone.
“We’re not cruel to animals, I don’t care what they said,” Jimenez said. “I love animals.”
But some neighbors said they weren’t surprised to learn of Soares’s arrest after they read about it in The Garden Island on Friday. They said the dogs and property were a source of tension for the neighborhood. The home is located on a windy, uphill mountain road off Olehena Road, west of Old Kapaa Town.
“There’s always a dog or more, who runs out and comes barking,” said another neighbor about the times she walks her own dog around the property. “It’s just not a friendly place to walk past.”
One neighbor said the dogs once nipped at a neighbor horse’s legs, but the horse stomped and defended itself before the dogs scattered away. The neighbor also said the property also had around 30 smaller dogs on it at one point.
“He deserves everything that’s coming to him,” another male neighbor said. “I love karma.”
Three of the dogs taken from the home were puppies. Some of the dogs, aged 3 to 6 years old, were Airedale mixes, popular hunting dogs on Hawaii.
Mana Brown, one of the KHS officers who responded to the scene, said none of the dogs, all of whom were in cages, had access to water. The dead dog, who shared a cage with another dog, appeared to have been deceased for a day or two, he said, and that when they contacted Soares he tried to bring out a bag of food to feed the animals.
He said that he has responded to complaints at the Soares address a couple of times before, but hasn’t seen anything that warranted a seizure before Tuesday. Previous calls found mostly unkempt cages.
Brown said it appeared two of the dogs were more starved than others on his latest visit.
“A blatant act of neglect,” he said of those two dogs. “That, to me, is worse.”
The number of official complaints to the property couldn’t be obtained Friday afternoon, either by the KHS or by the Kauai Police Department.
Soares was released from jail on his own recognizance. Each charge is punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines, according to the county prosecutor’s office.
Cistaro said she expects the seven remaining dogs to make a full recovery, classifying them as happy and playful. On Friday, the dogs were running around their KHS cages, playing and panting. She said it’s typical for starving dogs to act in an aggressive manner while searching for food, as some neighbors had described.
Jimenez, who said her son has since taken the 50-pound dog food bag from the house, added she expects her son will try and reclaim the dogs once the court case is settled and she and her granddaughter will testify on Soares’s behalf.
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