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Poisoned Animals poisoned in Kalaheo

Multiple agencies investigating deaths of 4 dogs, 1 cat

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Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014 2:00 am

LIHUE — A commonly used herbicide was reportedly used to poison several animals in a small subdivision of Kalaheo, on Kauai’s South Shore, according to officials.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before that was of this magnitude,” said Mana Brown, field services supervisor at the Kauai Humane Society.  

Janelle Saneishi, public information officer of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, confirmed the deaths of five animals — four dogs and one cat — belonging to four separate owners. One owner had two dogs killed, she wrote in an email.

“According to the Kauai veterinarian, paraquat was used,” Saneishi wrote.

Paraquat is a highly toxic restricted use pesticide, which means it can only be purchased and used by licensed applicators, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most likely route of exposure to paraquat that would lead to poisoning is ingestion, although poisoning is also possible following skin exposure, accord to the CDC. Ingesting paraquat may lead to symptoms such as heart, kidney and liver failure within several days to several weeks, and death can occur after several weeks, according to the website.

Saneishi said the poisonings occurred Jan. 25, with the last pet dying Jan. 31. The incident occurred at the end of Puuwai Road, in the vicinity of Puulima Road, she added.

Brown said the area is relatively small, and that all the animals killed came from within 10 houses of each other.

“I don’t know if somebody is throwing it into the yard,” he said of the chemical, “or if (the animals) are going down the road and getting into something.”

Although he can’t be sure, Brown said it is more likely that the animals ingested the substance from somewhere else in the area.

An HDOA pesticide inspector conducted an investigation with individuals that live nearby and handed out notification flyers in neighboring communities, according to Saneishi.

“It has come to our attention that there may have been a suspected pesticide-related animal poisoning in your neighborhood,” the flyers read. “If you own a pet, please confine it to your property. Most of these unfortunate poisoning happen to animals that are allowed to roam freely. Also, please be on the alert for suspicious people or vehicles in your neighborhood.”

Under the Hawaii Pesticide Law, any person found guilty of the deliberate misuse of a pesticide may be fined up to $25,000, imprisoned for not more than a year, or both.

“The pesticides complaint investigation is ongoing and the police will do their own investigation,” Saneishi wrote.

County spokeswoman Sarah Blane confirmed that the Kauai Police Department was working with KHS to investigate the incidents.

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  • 2491forkauaikeiki posted at 10:11 am on Thu, Feb 13, 2014.

    2491forkauaikeiki Posts: 88

    Paraquat is an RUP and only those licensed to use it can buy it, so It would seem there is a short list to investigate for the source, especially when cross referenced with people who live in or frequent the neighborhood.

    Most recently Pioneer and DOW both used it in December and January ("Good" Neighbor HDOA Reporting). Kauai Coffee did not. (Just facts).

    Sales 2010-2012: Kauai Coffee, Syngenta, Pioneer (all three years, 2013 not available) / Javellana Farm (only 5 lbs purchased) (2010 - license exp 1/16/13) 2013 data is not available.

    When I referenced the State of hawaii data for RUP pesticide licenses I did not see any other companies listed with licenses, however I only searched the product names listed in previous sales records. Product names are licensed, the active ingredient is not listed in the table.

  • MichaelMann posted at 11:09 pm on Wed, Feb 12, 2014.

    MichaelMann Posts: 528

    Please keep your pets on your property. IT IS THE LAW. Absolutely nothing in this article suggests that these animals were poisoned intentionally. There are people on here who appear to be quick to rush to some judgment that a pet poisoner is on the loose in Kalaheo, when it is far more likely that many irresponsible pet owners are loose in Kalaheo along with their pets. It is not everyone else's responsibilty to pet proof their yard so your pet can roam free. KEEP YOUR PET IN YOUR YARD. I definitely agree with trapping strays and taking them to the Humane Society, though. I've probably trapped close to 50 stray cats in the last 5 years, and I am happy that the area around my house no longer smells like a cat sewer with nightly mewling serenades. More than likely, all of those cats have been euthanized. A waste of life because of irresponsible pet owners. Some justice needs to be served out on that front, too!

  • ChumpChangeChuckie posted at 2:23 pm on Wed, Feb 12, 2014.

    ChumpChangeChuckie Posts: 108

    It does not take a village to raise a dog (or cat.) If you're allowing your animals to roam free, you are attempting to make your neighbors responsible for your pets. Not everyone is in love with the idea of that task, especially the part about scraping their dropping off their lawns, so don't act shocked if your animals come home with a belly full of pesticides. If you care about your pets, part of that caring is keeping them safe, IN THEIR OWN YARDS.

  • WestSideKaua'i posted at 12:48 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    WestSideKaua'i Posts: 40

    If this was intentional, which it appears to be, then I hope the perpetrator is found and justice is served. Such a horrible thing to do. If there's a problem with strays or people letting their dogs loose, and you don't know who the owner is, then trap the animals using a humane box trap and take them right to Kauai Humane Society. Or call KHS, and they might even be able to send someone out to help with the situation. No excuse for cruelty.

    There are a couple of comments on here that seem to assume that a product can't be both a pesticide and an herbicide at the same time. The reality is almost the opposite. All herbicides are pesticides. The term "pesticide" is a general term that refers to anything that repels, mitigates, prevents, or destroys any pest, whether that pest is a weed, a rodent, an insect, a fungus, or any other organism that is being repelled, mitigated, prevented or destroyed. Therefore, all herbicides, rodenticides, insecticides, fungicides, acaricides, bacteriocides, etc., are pesticides. All of them. Even the citronella that you spray to repel mosquitos is a pesticide. Take a look at the label on a can of Lysol when you get a chance; it's a pesticide too.

  • angelaflynn posted at 12:38 pm on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    angelaflynn Posts: 16

    Actually pesticide is the broad term that includes herbicides, insecticides, etc. Or as the EPA puts it: "Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control."

    I hope this was not intentional, but either intentional or not this is why pesticides should be avoided. There are safer alternatives for pest control. I am very sorry for the families that lost their loved ones.

  • Kunana posted at 7:28 am on Tue, Feb 11, 2014.

    Kunana Posts: 6

    Paraquat is an herbicide. However, pesticide is being applied as a general definition. (weeds are pests, I s'pose) It is sold under several different labels and is a RUP. Brand names include GRAMOXONE and REGLONE. It is one of the most toxic materials used in agriculture and is so dangerous because it has little smell and/or taste. Workers can be easily exposed to it as a result.
    It is used a lot in the coffee fields on Kaua'i and is also one of the substances listed as being applied by Pioneer in the public records received in the Waimea lawsuit. The Dept. of Ag should have records of all purchases of products that contain paraquat and should be able to follow a paper trail. An audit is in order as to who has access to this RUP at all farms (not just coffee or seed companies) on Kaua'i and who lives in the immediate vicinity where the animals were poisoned. An awful death for any creature.

  • WestKauai posted at 6:43 pm on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    WestKauai Posts: 256

    I remember when the sugar plantations used paraquat regularly. I don't recall seeing it listed among those RUPs used by the seed companies...

  • tunataxi posted at 4:33 pm on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    tunataxi Posts: 715

    Manawai... exactly how does this story relate to Niihau.... ??? My money is that someone's got a problem with animals trespassing on their property and decided they were tired of it. Whomever it is they are probably in the close area and without a fence. More than likely they just have access to some old jugs of this stuff from the cane age.

  • Julian777 posted at 3:46 pm on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    Julian777 Posts: 1

    I understand Paraquat to be an herbicide, not a pesticide.

  • MichaelMann posted at 11:15 am on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    MichaelMann Posts: 528

    Let's see...if these animals got access to this material at some place other than their owner's property, that would mean that the pet owners were in violation of the leash law, would it not?

    Your pets are not at liberty to roam the neighborhood any more than a person is at liberty to poison animals. There is a very big difference between someone intentionally poisoning animals and animals being poisoned because they are getting into areas they aren't supposed to be in.

  • rk669 posted at 1:00 am on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    rk669 Posts: 285

    bionicdread? That is a very serious suggestion,U should be Locked up!
    Any Incessant Barking Dogs involved?

  • BionicDread posted at 11:05 am on Sun, Feb 9, 2014.

    BionicDread Posts: 84

    Would suggesting a Syngenta employee be a far reach?....Nah. Nice to know anybody can just take this stuff home with 'em, too!

  • Manawai posted at 8:25 am on Sun, Feb 9, 2014.

    Manawai Posts: 309

    Where are all the northshore conservationists on this? Where are those malahini patronizers who cry to preserve the Native Hawaiian culture? Where is GreenPeace and all the other environmental organizations? Or is it that since they can’t take control of Ni’ihau, they will offer no support and leave the Hawaiians to fend for themselves to protect the island’s ecology. So for environmentalists, it looks like it’s all a matter of control and power. Ni’ihau really ought to secede from Kaua’i.

  • outofhere posted at 8:09 am on Sun, Feb 9, 2014.

    outofhere Posts: 540

    Wait! Aren't these the people who embrace GMO and pesticide use? Point made.

  • AnonyMouse posted at 7:58 am on Sun, Feb 9, 2014.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 929

    @Chris D’Angelo - It's not a "herbicide" as you stated in your first sentence, but a pesticide. There's quite a difference. Paraquat, which must be used carefully to avoid poisoning pets, used to be used routinely in peoples homes to kill rats.


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