Case Snapshot
Case ID: 15273
Classification: Vehicular
Animal: cat
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Animal was offleash or loose
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Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009

County: Kauai

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Michael Wong

Michael Wong, the 26-year-old Puhi man who was arrested last month for reportedly crossing the double solid yellow lines on Ono Street in Puhi with his Toyota sedan and intentionally striking an orange cat, pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of second-degree cruelty to animals Wednesday morning in District Court, according to court administrator Vera Tabe.

On Jan. 6, Wong allegedly got out of his car, picked up the cat, placed the cat in a bucket and tossed the bucket in a rubbish can at his Ono Street residence before a witness called police to report the incident.

The Kaua'i Police Department and the Office of the County Prosecuting Attorney have yet to pursue first-degree animal cruelty charges, which would make the offense a felony.

Dr. Becky Rhoades, director of the Kaua'i Humane Society, believes that what happened was a "very serious crime."

While she is grateful that the police did respond, immediately arresting Wong, she said in a phone interview Thursday she hopes that the "punishment will suit the crime."

"Violence is violence whether it's towards an animal, people or property," she said. "This was a very violent act and that's what the issue is here and it's one of the reasons we have cruelty laws."

Rhoades is an advocate for protecting animals and believes that anyone who would intentionally cross the street to harm an animal could potentially pose a threat to the community.

"In this case, it's an issue of directly harming an animal. That's why we have laws in place to protect animals and the whole community."

Wong's trial has been set for April 14th at 8:30 a.m.


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