A Kahaluu dog breeder at the center of an animal cruelty investigation says he wants out of the breeding business.
James Montgomery was arrested Saturday on suspicion of animal cruelty and released that night pending further investigation after animal rescuers removed 34 dogs.
Authorities described the animals living conditions at Montgomery’s Kahaluu home as “living in their own filth, with no water and food.”
Investigators say two dogs were found in a trash can — one of them shot to death, the other emaciated and near death.
Attorney William Harrison says his client is innocent and just “wants the dogs to find a good home.”
He met with Montgomery Monday afternoon and told KHON2 Montgomery decided not to raise or breed dogs following the latest arrest.
“Is he guilty of animal cruelty?” KHON2 asked.
“Our position is no. Depending on how this matter plays out, if may involves a trial and if it involves a trial, then surely he’s going to prove his innocence,” said Harrison. “You can’t clean the kennels every 15 or 20 minutes. He has other things he’s doing.”
As for the dogs in the trash can, Harrison said Montgomery is “not at fault. If animals were found there, he’s not at fault for those animals.”
This is the second time Montgomery has been arrested for animal cruelty.
Harrison also represented Montgomery on animal cruelty charges in a 2005 case. Back then, 78 dogs and puppies were taken away from him.
Montgomery was charged with and pleaded guilty to 55 counts of animal cruelty, but a judge allowed him to get his dogs back.
It cost the Hawaiian Humane Society $250,000 to care for the animals. Now, laws require pet owners to pay back the humane society on costs.
According to Harrison, Montgomery does not want to be charged and will fight it.
The humane society said it could not release any more information as the investigation is ongoing.
“It is a pending investigation. Does he understand the severity of the charges he could be facing?” KHON2 asked.
“Yes, absolutely. The first case was really a problem for him,” Harrison said. “He was a teacher at the time. He got a lot of publicity. His family, his kids at school were being teased. It was a serious offense then. It’s a serious offense now. He was facing multiple charges. He understood then it was serious. He understands now it is serious.”
This time around, he just wants new homes for the animals and, Harrison adds, “he also doesn’t want to pay the cost of housing the animals at the humane society.”
We stopped by the Hawaiian Humane Society to find out if Montgomery reached out to them directly. We’re told as of now, he has not.
To transfer ownership, the humane society says it would need to file for a petition and hire an attorney to gain custody of the dogs.
At this point in the investigation, all 34 dogs are still at the shelter and are not being fostered yet.