Dog killing endangered nene leads to assault arrest

LIHUE, Kauai — A woman walking with her dog on northern Kauai was assaulted after her heeler-mix killed an endangered Hawaii bird, authorities said.

Paulina Ann Ka’aumoana was walking near the Princeville Golf Course on Monday when her unleashed 19-year-old dog killed a baby nene, The Garden Island reported .

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“By the time I got there, he had this brand new baby nene in his mouth and the baby had already died,” Ka’aumoana said.

Ka’aumoana said she was pulling her dog away from the Hawaiian goose when a man ran from across the street and started kicking her dog. When she intervened, he kicked and punched her, she said.

The 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault, said Kim Tamaoka, a spokeswoman for Kauai police. The Hanamaulu man was working nearby when he witnessed the dog’s attack.

“The man began to kick the dog in his attempt to stop the attack, and during his attempt he allegedly assaulted the woman,” Tamaoka said.

Police responded to the scene and also called in the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Nene are a federally protected species.

“An officer removed the carcass and they are processing the case,” said AJ McWhorter, a spokesman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Ka’aumoana said the attack was uncharacteristic of her dog, which she describes as mellow and says she’s kept him off the leash for 10 years.

“He has an injury on his front leg and he’s mostly blind and deaf,” Ka’aumoana said. “Normally, he doesn’t chase them.”

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Ka’aumoana said she understands she will be facing repercussions for letting her dog walk free. The dog is approaching his end of life, and this event might be a push in that direction, she said.

“I was wanting a sign to put my dog down, and I’m sorry this is it,” Ka’aumoana said.