Kahaluu dog breeder apologizes in court prior to sentencing for animal cruelty

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A Kahaluu man who had more than 30 dogs living in inhumane conditions in a bunker will spend nine months in jail.

We were there when Hawaiian Humane Society staff and animal investigators rescued 33 dogs from James Montgomery’s property in Kahaluu in May 2016.

He pleaded no contest this past April to one count of first-degree animal cruelty, which is a felony, and one count of second-degree animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.

Before his sentencing, Montgomery apologized for his actions.

“I apologize to all of you who are members of the community who love animals. I do too. It was my own responsibility and I am sorry for that,” he said.

The animals were living in a bunker, and a dog named Cheddar was found emaciated and anemic inside a trash can.

“Cheddar did not get in that condition by accident, nor over a short period of time. It’s torture, basic torture,” said Harold Han, Hawaiian Humane Society animal investigator.

This was not the first time Montgomery had been investigated for animal cruelty.

“It was 33 animals in such horrendous conditions. (In) 2005, when 64 animals were rescued, it shows intent, knowing intent, and cruel because what he proceeded to do was build a bunker to house all these animals with no air, no light so that he could conceal all this activity, illegal suffering of all these animals,” Han said.

The dogs that were taken from the bunker were severely malnourished, but they were all adopted after they were taken into the humane society’s care.

Prosecutors were asking for a five-year sentence, but say they are satisfied with the judge’s verdict.

“We are going to defend victims, whether those victims are albatross or dogs or they are people. We are going to do everything we got to do to make sure people are held accountable,” said prosecuting attorney Robert Brown.

Montgomery’s attorney asked for no jail time, but was not surprised by the sentencing terms.

“There is a lot that went on behind the scenes that people didn’t understand,” said William Harrison. “His son had committed suicide. He had medical problems, health problems, a heart condition, a pacemaker put in. He was just overwhelmed and this is why this happened.”

Montgomery is not allowed to have any pets of his own for at least five years.

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