HONOLULU (KHON2) — A Windward Oahu family is angry after their horse was attacked by a pack of hunting dogs early in the morning on Saturday, March 27, in Hakipuu.
Sue and Richard Girton are devastated. Their 21-year-old Tennessee Walker Palomino, Kiele, is barely hanging on.
They declined an interview and instead wanted to focus energy on their injured pet.
Koa Johnson lives next door.
He has been with the Girton family trying to help them and Kiele all day.
“They’re going through a lot of pain and suffering,” Johnson said. “You can see it on their faces.”
He said, the attack happened around 4:15 a.m. Saturday.
“We heard the barking,” said Johnson. “We thought it’s probably pig hunters but we didn’t hear any squealing so it was kind of unusual. We just heard heavy deep grunting.”
That grunting was Kiele being mauled by 10 hunting dogs inside her stall.
“It enrages me because this poor horse was stuck in her pen, she couldn’t hardly defend herself,” Johnson explained. “She’s got lacerations all over her legs, across her face, on her rump, so she’s in bed shape.”
He said, a veterinarian came by earlier and told them she may be bleeding internally.
They are not sure if she will make it.
Johnson said, it is not the first time an animal was attacked by hunting dogs in Hakipuu.
“We had a potbelly pig that was attacked, a family pet. She was really badly injured,” he said.
According to Johnson, their other neighbor called the police.
He said, at least one hunter was caught but denied being involved.
“If you’re not going to control your dogs, don’t hunt anywhere near here,” Johnson said. “Take responsibility. You guys just run away. Don’t do that. At least come here and just say you’re sorry and be respectful for the loss that you created and are responsible for directly.”
Hog Killahz Incorporated advertised a pig hunting tournament on Instagram this weekend. The contest organizer said he does not condone any livestock being attacked and he did not know if anyone in his tournament was involved.
Pig hunting is allowed in specific areas on Oahu.
According to Pig Hunting Association of Oahu president Josiah Jury, there are rules in place from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to ensure hunting is done safely and ethically.
“Pig hunting on the island of Oahu is governed by DLNR and DLNR has a set of rules, statutes that are in place: going into the permit classes, obtaining a hunting license yearly,” Jury said. “Attending that permit class, which allows them to understand the rules that govern and the safety precautions. Also to identify the public hunting areas which are designated by DLNR.”
Jury said, he is disappointed to hear about what happened and hopes the people responsible come forward.
“The message that we should get across is that we need to continue to take responsibilities, we need to be wise, in the areas that we’re hunting, want to perpetuate and continue this culture of hunting within our islands,” Jury said.
He said, it is a shame that pig hunters who do not follow the rules make the rest of the pig hunting community look bad.
“We can find remote areas where there is a high volume of pigs, maybe causing problems in watershed or endangered species, and help solve that problem,” Jury explained.
He added that pig hunting also allows the hunters to provide food for their families.
Jury hopes everyone understands that pig hunting, when done properly, can benefit local communities.