Dog Attacks in Puna… Public Safety Meeting to Address Enforcement Issues

This post is to honor Big Island resident, Wayne Joseph, who just underwent brain surgery.

Click Graph to read who has the highest risk of beng bitten by dogs

Recently, well known Puna resident Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph was attacked and bitten on the ankle by a dog as he was on one of his daily jogs.

Joseph took legal recourse against the owner of the dog and wrote on a post entitled, “Dog bite saga goes to court and the Big Dog gets the last laugh“:

Knowing that you are right and fighting for what is right sometimes requires patience and perseverance to see things through.

On April 14, 2011 a dog belonging to an irresponsible owner sunk its teeth into my leg.  I needed to follow through with legal system to insure that this would never happen again to anyone

Unfortunately another dog attack has happened and I received the following email regarding a public safety meeting that will be addressing this situation and the enforcement issues that arise because of these incidents:

There will be a public safety meeting at Leilani Community Center Feb 28, 7pm.

This meeting has been organized following a shocking (but, sadly, not rare) incident first brought to light in this letter which appeared in Big Island Weekly earlier in the month:

…On August 31, 2011, I was on my usual walk and we turned the corner to be confronted by the same four dogs. This time they were on the street and immediately proceeded to attack my dog and myself. I cannot begin to describe the terror and helplessness that I felt during this awful attack. The leader of the pack was a large pit bull that tried to get a hold on my dog’s throat, but only got her shoulder and proceeded to drag her into a ditch. While this was going on, I was being savagely attacked by the other three dogs that took turns rushing in and biting me while I was desperately trying to get the pit bull off of my dog. All the while I was screaming for help at the top of my lungs. A woman came out onto her deck and screamed that she was calling 911 and was too afraid to come to my aid. As I was being attacked I could hear the woman telling the dispatcher what was going on. Unbelievably the dispatcher wanted to send out an officer to take a report. The woman screamed that I was being torn to shreds and a life was in danger. The pit bull was wearing a collar and I managed to get a hold of it and started twisting and eventually cut off the dogs air supply causing it to let go of my dog who immediately took off running for home with the other three dogs in pursuit. I was able to subdue the pit bull by laying on top of it with a choke hold…

More here: http://bigislandweekly.com/news/letter-to-the-editor-5.html

I have since talked with the author of the letter, Joel Foster, who was attacked by dogs in Leilani. The Hawaii County Police tried to dismiss the incident as something they could do nothing about.  Joel refused to let them ignore it.

The issue here is Police responsiveness and equal enforcement of laws.  As horrible as it may sound, dog attacks are not uncommon in Hawaii County, yet enforcement of existing laws regarding such attacks is uncommon.

If you are able, please consider being present at this meeting to show support for public safety.

Anyone who has a similar story to relate, regarding dog attacks and/or inadequate police responsiveness in a matter of public safety, will be invited to share that story so that the wider community can learn from it.

3 Responses

  1. Aloha Damon,
    The owner of this dog in question has a locked fenced gate and was not home when this happened. Mr. Foster refused a ride from a neighbor to go to the ER an insisted on waiting for an ambulance. He sat on the dog for 20 minutes of course he or anyone who did that would get scratched and bitten. Then the next day Mrs Willing was attacked too but apparently a faster runner than Mr. Foster cause she was not hurt or touched supposedly by the same group of dogs. Upon hearing of this incident Mrs. Green tried to do the pono thing and pay for his medical bills, Mr. Foster refused and he instead went to a lawyer in Kona to try to go after her homeowners insurance in August. I was once attacked by a dog and know from experience the fear and pain involved but I worked out the medical bill with the owners and it was pono why would he refuse to have his vet and medical bills paid at the time??
    Mrs. Green volunteers at Pahoa Elem. with the special needs children and is an active native Hawaiian Kupuna in Puna. She is a widow age 68 a member of Alu Like, Ahahui Kaahumanu and many numerous community related groups. In all her many years of living in Keahialaka (Leilani Estates) she has NEVER had a dog incident, in fact a man name Wes who lived on Malama Street was attacked by boxers, fell onto the cement bleeding badly and is now dealing with vertigo and has since moved back to the mainland, why was that not in the news? He was seriously hurt. WHy is Mr. Foster’s incident more news worthy? Sadly there are many unchained or dogs that get loose in Leilani. This happened in August but is barely mentioned on the Leilani newsletter that month. Also there is ALWAYS a Neighborhood Watch meeting on the last tuesday of the month, this isnt a special emergency meeting just for Joel. Why is he driving to Liliuokalani Park what is wrong with Leilani Park or Pohoiki?? Come on, people have seen him walking his dog in Leilani. He seems to want monetary gain and is taking advantage of the political season as well, as Mr. Weatherford is speaking out and getting involved. We here in the community know that Mr. Foster will most likely file a civil suit after the court date, its not rocket science. Braddah wants kala.
    Aloha, Kalamakani
    From the Associdation website: Neighborhood Watch Meetings are held on the last Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at the Rec Center
    http://www.leilaniestates.org/index.htm

  2. Two very telling statements from the article at Big Island Weekly:

    “…I have also been informed that the owners of the dogs have family on the police force.”

    “Upon follow-up, the investigating officer, who had been on vacation, eventually contacted Mr. Foster. He was informed that the case was suspended because it is policy to do so if the case is not solved within 90 days. The case cannot move forward to the prosecutor’s office unless the officer gets a statement from the dog owner. The owner is not answering the phone or the door.”

    Hmmm, how typical Hawaii!

  3. Any dog off their lead should be taken to the Humane Society.
    This is horrific! Are we waiting for someone to die from an attack?
    According to your info children are the most likely to be bitten. I see way to many dogs running free here in Puna. More needs to be done to stop this now!

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