Case Snapshot
Case ID: 18135
Classification: Neglect / Abandonment
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Judge(s): Dean Ochiai

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Thursday, Jun 9, 2011

County: Honolulu

Disposition: Convicted
Case Images: 4 files available

Defendant/Suspect: Ruth Lum

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

The owner of nine dogs that were rescued in Waianae earlier this month has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty. KHON2 first told you about this case two weeks ago after Hawaiian Humane Society rescuers said nine dogs were found starving and dehydrated on a Waianae property, one was dead.

"On the afternoon on June 9 one of our humane investigators was flagged down by a pedestrian that reported that some of the animals weren't being cared for and they didn't see the owner in about a month," said Hawaiian Human Society Field Services Manager Delvin Honda.

The dogs were removed; two were taken to a vet clinic in critical condition.

"A lot of them were grossly emaciated and dehydrated," he said.

What a difference a little protein and a lot of love can make.

"I think all they needed was just a little human interaction and love," said Honda. "She was tied up to maybe less than a foot long tether and no water."

The dog's water bowl was 10 feet away filled with mosquito larvae, dirt and grime. She's not the only one that's made strides. Caramel has come a long way as well.

"This is the one that we actually took to VCA that evening because it couldn't even stand up, it was just lying down," said Honda. "After treatment she just recovered beautifully. She can walk and eat on her own."

Today the dogs' owner was charged with six counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

"A total of six counts, each count she faces up to a two-thousand dollar fine and or up to a year in jail," said Keoni Vaughn of the Hawaiian Humane Society.

An arraignment date is set for July 15th.

This isn't the first time the dogs' owner been investigated by the Hawaiian Humane Society. Two years ago she was issued a warning citation for animal cruelty over the condition of her five dogs at the time. Investigators say the dogs in this case had no human contact for nearly three weeks.

"They were just locked up for almost 20 days on their own," said Honda. "Right now we're sending the case to the prosecutor's office for them to review."

The nine dogs will soon go to foster homes and someday may be up for adoption.

Case Updates

A 56-year-old Waianae woman was sentenced to a deferred one-month jail term after being found guilty of six counts of animal cruelty in state District Court this afternoon.

Ruth Lum pleaded no contest to the charges today. Hawaiian Humane Society officials said nine dogs were left without food or water for up to a month at a remote Waianae Valley site in June. One animal was found dead; the others were nursed back to health by the Humane Society and have been placed in new homes.

Under the terms of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Lum will not need to serve the jail term if she passes a one-year probationary period without any incidents. District Judge Dean Ochiai ordered her to pay $3,346 in restitution, to be paid in monthly $30 increments, to the Humane Society for the care of the animals.

Additionally, Lum was sentenced to 180 hours of community service. Ochiai said he will recommend to the Hawaii Judiciary's Community Service Sentencing Branch that she fulfill her community service as a volunteer at the Humane Society.
Source: - Dec 7, 2011
Update posted on Dec 11, 2011 - 8:31PM 
A Waianae woman charged with six counts of animal cruelty made her initial court appearance on Friday.

Ruth Lum had nine dogs that were rescued from her property last month.

Ruth Lum appeared at Kapolei Courthouse and will be assigned a public defender if she chooses to go on trial. KHON2 first told you about this case on June 10th when rescuers with the Hawaiian Humane Society said they found nine dogs starving and dehydrated at Lum's Waianae property. One dog was found dead.

Lum was also issued a warning citation for animal cruelty two years ago over the condition of her five dogs at the time. It hasn't been determined if she's an animal hoarder, but if so, experts say it will be critical for her to get psychological help.

"They will repeat the behavior in recollecting animals or recreating the conditions even after those animals are removed so it's absolutely critical," said Inga Gibson of the Humane Society of the United States.

Gibson points out that she's not specifically familiar with Lum's case, but animal hoarders in general tend to repeat the behavior because they're in denial that they're harming the animals.

"They are not mentally able to recognize the suffering involved in these kinds of situations," she says.

And in most cases, Gibson says, that denial of care doesn't just apply to the animals but also themselves.

"So people that neglect animals via hoarding sadly oftentimes neglect their own health and welfare," she says.

Gibson points out that it's also critical for the community to report situations that show signs of cruelty or neglect to animals.

"If there are strong smells of feces or ammonia if there is animals that are obviously living in cramped conditions," she says.

That was the case for Lum, who was reported by one of her neighbors. With six counts of animal cruelty, she faces up to a two thousand dollar fine and or a year in jail on each count.
Source: - Jul 15, 2011
Update posted on Jul 16, 2011 - 5:58PM 


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