WEST OAHU, Hawaii — A dog buried alive at the beach causes an uproar on social media, and highlights one of the challenges with enforcing Hawaii’s animal abuse laws.
Pictures of the dog made some people mad, but also helped the pup get help she desperately needed.
This was the first look rescue group PAWS of Hawaii got of a dog they named Leialoha. She was buried in the sand at a West Oahu beach, by someone who thought her ailments were too much.
“He felt he was ending her suffering by trying to end her life, instead of getting her the help she needed,” said Ku’ulei Durand, the Executive Director of PAWS of Hawaii.
Leialoha needed a lot of help.
“Severe sunburn, lesions, swollen limbs in her extremities — that is a sign of being very dehydrated and very poor care,” said veterinarian Dr. Kelly Dowdall-Garberson, with Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services.
Dr. Dowdall-Garberson treated Leialoha after the hound/pit dog had been rescued. She is one of the many animals in need taken care of at the Aiea clinic.
“20-30% of the animals we help are rescue animals. We partner with rescue groups around the island,” added Dr. Dowdall-Garberson.
Even after being cleaned up, Leialoha doesn’t look much better, with most of her hair gone, and her skin covered in bloody patches.
“Her skin, if you were able to smell her, is rancid because she has so many open sores that are infected,” said Durand.
She also has cuts on her front paws, believed to be inflicted on her at the beach right before she was rescued.
“The man who buried her, we were led to believe, had started to cut her,” stated Durand.
While Leialoha was saved from further abuse, the crimes against her will likely not be prosecuted.
“Enforcement around animal laws is very difficult. Unless you have a video of the animal being abused, a picture and a report isn’t going to stick,” added Durand.
In the meantime, the focus will be on getting Leialoha the care and attention over the next 6 months she will need to fully heal.
There is hope though, four months ago another similar dog was rescued. It has already recovered nicely, thanks in part to good foster parents
Just one day after her rescue, Leialoha was in much better spirits.
“She is a tough girl, so strong and amazing. A great personality. It is so wonderful to see dogs come out of their shell, even with just a day of love,” said Durand.
Picture of Leialoha buried in the sand, sparked anger on social media. But Ku’ulei hopes people will turn their anger into action.
“A lot of people will be upset over the condition of Leialoha and the person that hurt her. There are so many things you can do to help, like contact local rescues or shelters and see what you can do to assist,” stated Durand.
Leialoha will stay with her foster family until she is ready for adoption. She will also head back to Dr. Kelly every two days or so, to make sure she continues to heal from her injuries and abus