The owner of service dog claims he received little help from the Honolulu Police Department and the Hawaiian Humane Society after his 7-year-old shih tzu was allegedly attacked Tuesday by another dog in Iwilei.
Click here to watch Andrew Pereira's story.
"Basically I was given red tape, people blaming each other and meanwhile there's a public danger out on the street," Mark Christiansen, a 29-year-old HPU grad student, told KITV4.
On Tuesday afternoon at about 12:30 Christiansen had just purchased tickets at the Dole Cannery movie theater when he and his dog Cosmo walked by a bus stop on Iwilei Road near Sumner Street. That's when an unleashed gray and white dog allegedly came from behind and latched onto one of Cosmo's hind legs.
"Another dog just came out of nowhere and just latched on him and wouldn't let go," said Christiansen. "I even got a bite on my finger."
At first it was thought Cosmo could lose his leg, but after more than $1,500 in veterinary bills it appears the animal will make a full recovery. Christiansen claims he received no help from six police officers who were responding to another call at the nearby Institute for Human Services on Sumner Street.
"I asked three different police officers for help and the first one just told me to hold on a second; the second one brushed me away and walked away as fast as he could, (and) the third police officer said he wasn't going to help me at all," said Christiansen.
Last August the Hawaiian Humane Society announced an $800,000 shortfall would force the nonprofit to scale back services and HPD would pick up the slack. Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said officers are only sent to animal cases under certain conditions.
"HPD responds to animals that are posing an immediate threat," explained Yu. "The officers deemed the dog involved was no longer a threat."
When KITV4 reached Humane Society spokeswoman Maria Glidden for comment, she said the organization's dog control efforts are limited to certain instances.
"If the dogs are loose and are actively aggressive, we will respond to that," said Glidden. "But if they're under the control of their owners, that would be an HPD call and they would have to investigate that."
Christiansen said he was told to call police when he reached someone at the Humane Society by phone.
Meanwhile, those familiar with the gray and white dog that allegedly attacked Christiansen's shih tzu say it's never been aggressive toward people.
"You never know what the one dog did to the other," said Seth Kaner, who receives services at IHS. "Maybe the dog bit it or went after it and the dog just turned around."
However Christiansen said Cosmo has never attacked another dog and he shudders to think what his emotional state would be if he lost his best friend. Cosmo helps Christiansen deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.
"I would've been devastated; I seriously would've been incapacitated for a couple of weeks," said Christiansen. "It could take up to six months to get the right dog and the doctors prescribing it for your condition."
Christiansen filed a police report, but doesn't want the dog that allegedly attacked Cosmo put down. He said he came forward to highlight the apparent gap in services between HPD and the Humane Society.
"Something needs to happen to keep innocent animals from being tortured," he said. "I'm calling around and no one was helping."
The Hawaiian Humane Society has a web page highlighting the services it offers. For the link, click here: Services Provided