Trial begins in cat mauling case

Defense: An unfortunate incident that is not a criminal act

Published  9:43 AM HST Jan 30, 2013
HONOLULU -

It has been six months since Sweety the cat was attacked and killed.

On Tuesday, the owners of two hunting dogs braced for an onslaught of witnesses who say the owner's negligent actions led to the death of a family pet.

"We just wanna let Sweety have peace because this has gone on for so long," said Stacy Fujii, a member of Sweety's family.  "I just want my brother to have peace because he got that cat from far away.  He was so invested in him and he was, like, a part of our life -- he wasn't just an animal."

Eight witnesses lined up to testify in District Court Tuesday against Scott Afong and Micah Kauopua.

On July 21, witnesses say the two lost track of their two pig hunting dogs, which ended up in Kuliouou Park, and chased after Sweety then mauled him behind a nearby home.

Attorneys for the defendants called it an unfortunate accident that doesn't rise to the level of a criminal act.

Fujii says, however the case ends, she just wants the two to take responsibility for their actions.

"I think it's a bigger issue than what's going on," said Fujii.  "The main thing is take care of your pets.  Love them and don't let them hurt anyone else's pets.  If they do, say sorry, and just take responsibility for it."

Afong and Kauopua face a charge of what's called "negligent failure to control a dangerous dog."  It is a petty misdemeanor which could result in a fine, probation or even jail time.

Both Afong and Kauopua pleaded not guilty.

Fujii says she's now warning all hikers entering Kuliouou Trail to watch for hunting dogs.

Neighbors say, in recent years, they have seen more pigs and more hunting activity closer to residential homes.

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