WAILUKU - A pit bull mix dog that had been deemed dangerous was surrendered to the Maui Humane Society and euthanized this month, after it was found unrestrained following an Aug. 23 attack on another dog at Waiehu Kou Park.
The attack last month followed an earlier report of an attack and bite by the same dog, leading to the dangerous dog designation, said Jocelyn Bouchard, chief executive officer of the Maui Humane Society.
Within a week of being deemed dangerous, the dog was found loose when animal control officers checked on it, Bouchard said. The dangerous dog designation carries requirements including immediate confinement in a fully enclosed area.
Glynn Akina holds her dog Laka, a miniature pinscher mix, who was bitten by a pit bull mix during a morning walk Aug. 23 in Waiehu Kou Park. The dog that attacked Laka was euthanized this month after its owner surrendered the animal to the Maui Humane Society.
The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo
After the violation, Bouchard said the owner agreed to surrender the intact 2-year-old male, and it was euthanized this month.
A Tuesday date is set in Wailuku District Court for the dog owner, Ginger Kapaku, who was cited for a leash law violation and dog attack.
In another dog attack that injured a woman hiking with her puppy Aug. 2 at Waihou Springs State Forest Reserve at the top of Olinda Road, dog owner Nadia Toraman was cited for a leash law violation and dog attack. Her court date is set for Oct. 11.
On Wednesday, Toraman said she was sorry the incident happened.
"Did I wish that? No," she said. "It was a freak accident.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm trying to do the right thing from here on."
Toraman's pit bull Kona, a 1-year-old female, was deemed dangerous after the hiker reported the unleashed dog chewed on her arms as she held up her 5-pound Pomeranian puppy to keep the smaller dog from being attacked. After a visiting nurse helped the injured woman out of the forest, an ambulance transported her to Maui Memorial Medical Center, where she was treated with multiple stitches on both arms.
Toraman's appeal of the dangerous dog designation is on the Maui County Animal Control Board's Oct. 12 agenda.
Toraman is appealing a specific requirement, not the entire designation, Bouchard said. Toraman has complied with other requirements including obedience classes for the dog, and the dog has been confined when animal control officers have made checks.
"She's been very cooperative, very responsible," Bou-chard said. "The dog has been fine. It's been very friendly."
She said that's often the case with dogs. "They're going to get worked up and riled up in a situation, where they may not be in another situation," Bou-chard said. "That's just why we need people to keep dogs on leashes."
In the Aug. 23 attack, Waiehu Kou resident Glynn Akina was walking her two leashed dogs, Laka and Buddy, at Waiehu Kou Park in the morning when the unleashed pit bull ran up from behind and attacked Laka, a miniature pinscher mix.
She said the pit bull mix had bitten Laka on his shoulder and was holding on when a boy from the family that owned the dog showed up.
The boy grabbed and straddled the dog and pounded it with a beer bottle until it finally let go of her dog, Akina said. "He helped me. If it wasn't for him, my dog wouldn't be alive today," she said. "I know that there was no way the dog was going to give up without a fight.
"I don't know what made the dog let go. I think the man upstairs had something to do with it."
She estimated that the red pit bull mix weighed about 60 pounds, compared to 15-pound Laka. Her other dog, Buddy, a terrier who also weighs about 15 pounds, wasn't attacked.
"I was so traumatized," Akina said, recalling the attack. "I was hyperventilating."
She said a man called 911 and told her it wasn't the first time the dog had gotten loose and attacked. Later, Akina said she learned there was a big hole in the fence where the dog had been tied up in the yard.
"If my dog attacked someone, I would not have that dog be able to get loose," Akina said. "You cannot take it lightly. You have to take the proper steps to make sure your dog doesn't get loose. It could have been a child. And it could have been their ohana.
"We all should be educated on what to do and what are the steps to make sure this dog is not able to attack again."
In addition to reporting the attack to police, Akina said she called the Maui Humane Society to report it. When no one showed up to investigate, she said she went to the agency to make a report.
Akina said Laka's veterinarian bill totaled $117, much of it for antibiotics and pain medication. "I'm very blessed it didn't turn out worse," she said.
Bouchard encouraged people to call the Maui Humane Society as well as police to report dog bites. She said the agency doesn't get police reports of such incidents right away, and in some cases may not get the reports at all.
"That is really critical that people call us, even if the police have responded," she said. "At the very least, we will get the police report faster."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.