WAILUKU - A Paia man was ordered to pay $150 in fines and restitution in connection with a fatal attack by his Rottweiler on a terrier last year at Baldwin Beach Park.
Martin Hauen-Limkilde was sentenced Friday after he pleaded no contest to violations for the dog attack and for failing to keep his dog under restraint.
The attack occurred at about 9 p.m. July 2 when Haiku resident Yukiko McClure took her 7-year-old terrier Alegria with her to feed a feral cat colony near the entrance to the Paia park.
McClure said she saw the dog's silhouette as the Rottweiler came through a fence from a residence on Alawai Place at the park. The next moment, she said the Rottweiler had its jaw clamped onto Alegria, who was in the air.
She said she managed to get her dog away from the Rottweiler. But when she placed Alegria on the ground, the Rottweiler grabbed her dog a second time and shook the smaller animal, she said.
"I had nothing but my body to shield us from the dog," McClure said in court Friday. "My only focus was to protect us from tenacious attacks from that dog.
"I continuously asked for help from the owner. We were left helpless in the dirt roadway."
When Alegria's back legs were paralyzed in the aftermath of the attack, the nonprofit East Maui Animal Refuge accepted donations to help pay for the estimated $7,000 cost of spinal surgery on Oahu. After the surgery, Alegria's heart stopped, and she died July 15.
McClure said she still has "vivid flashbacks" of seeing Alegria shaken in the air and hearing her cries of pain.
"The court can certainly appreciate the fear, the emotional toll that this incident had upon her," said Wailuku District Judge Blaine Kobayashi, who followed a plea agreement in sentencing Hauen-Limkilde.
"I think you can appreciate and understand, especially from Ms. McClure's statement, what can happen when, as an owner of a dog, you fail to keep your animal under restraint," Kobayashi told Hauen-Limkilde. "I hope you certainly learn from this incident. I hope something like this doesn't happen again.
"Her dog meant a lot to her."
Hauen-Limkilde declined to speak in court. A July 24 court date on restitution is set for Hauen-Limkilde, who agreed to pay restitution.
After the hearing, McClure said that she was thankful for the support not only from Maui and Hawaii residents but from people as far away as Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington who donated money for Alegria's surgery. "I know it's not easy in this economy," she said.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.