Keauhou HOA Fines Condo Owner $26K (and Counting) for Feeding Cats

Pamela Cooper

A Keauhou rental operator is facing upwards of $26,000 in fines from her homeowner’s association for feeding two wild cats who have lived in the rental sophisticated for yrs.

These fines are rising $100 a day, far too. 

They’re climbing each day simply because Pamela Cooper does not intend to cease feeding the cats – named Bob and Carol and estimated to be all-around 9 many years old each individual.

They’ve lived on the assets extended than Cooper has owned her rental there.

The felines aren’t wild in the feeling that they show up feral and unhealthy, Cooper reported. Relatively, they are “community cats,” who are wholesome, well-behaved and have lived outdoors around the Kona sophisticated for the last 9 decades.

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“They just took a liking to my unit or a thing,” Cooper advised Large Island Now. “I took it to heart to feed them.”

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Or proceed feeding them, in the situation of Cooper.

Cooper, 73, started leasing out the condo she ordered in 2015. About 3 decades in the past, she realized that her tenants experienced been feeding the cats on the lanai each and every night time about sunset. The night ritual did not appear to be to bother her neighbors, Cooper stated, or any person else.

The cats try to eat on Cooper’s lanai. Pc: KARES

So, when Cooper rented the condo out to new tenants, a issue of the arrangement was that new people carry on to feed the felines supper – a procedure Cooper estimates can take 6 to 7 minutes.

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“They’re group cats,” Cooper reported, introducing she understood of the cats very well right before she discovered her tenants were being feeding them. “They never bother a soul.” 

But close to a 12 months ago, the HOA – the Keauhou Palena – educated Cooper that keeping and feeding animals go from the HOA policies, and she could be subject matter to fines if she didn’t halt.

Cooper claimed not feeding the cats wasn’t that uncomplicated for her.

Prior to Bob and Carol ended up there, an additional group cat, named “Uncle,” lived and was fed on the assets right up until he died. It was by no means an problem.

Precedent apart, Cooper claimed that out of the blue withholding foods or drinking water from animals in a place “they take into consideration dwelling,” is regarded animal cruelty under Hawai’i Statute 711.1109, a 2nd-degree misdemeanor offense.

“And that’s their property,” Cooper reported. “I’m just caught concerning a rock and a challenging spot.”

After her warning about a year in the past, Cooper continued to feed the animals.

Then, on March 15, she received a letter from Michael Kennedy, Keauhou Palena senior management government, notifying her that she experienced incurred $25,900 in fines for feeding the two cats.

The letter lists the bylaws that prohibit feeding and retaining animals and informs Cooper she experienced been warned because June of 2021 that this kind of a punishment could be levied versus her if she ongoing to feed the animals.

“As of currently, you or another person in your device has been feeding the cats for 259 times,” the letter states. “You are now being fined $25,900.00 and the amount of money will be added to your Affiliation amount.”

The letter carries on that the fines will maximize if the cats are still fed.

A copy of the letter from Keauhou Palena despatched to Pamela Cooper. Personal computer: KARES

“Witnesses have been reporting day-to-day feedings on the lanai and going ahead you will be fined $100 for just about every report of feeding cats on Keauhou Palena home,” the letter states. “If the reports of feeding the cats on property keep on, the Board will go on to increase the fines till this problem is resolved.”

Hawaiiana Management Corporation, Ltd. is the assets management enterprise that cares for the home. Reached by cellular phone on Monday, the organization referred all inquiries to Kennedy, who did not return a cell phone concept to Significant Island Now but despatched an e mail stating “I am not the individual to converse to” and referred all concerns to the association’s attorney.

When asked for the attorney’s call info, Kennedy stated in an e-mail that he offered the lawyer with Massive Island Now’s get hold of facts and “if he would like to converse to you, he will phone you.”

Major Island Now was not contacted by the lawyer on Monday. A cellphone concept remaining with the president as properly as a cell phone information remaining with the vice president of the Keauhou Palena Board of Directors went unreturned. This tale will be up-to-date need to the board call Huge Island Now.

A hearing on the subject has been scheduled via Zoom with Cooper and the board of directors for June 16.

Cooper has hired an lawyer to signify her, Sara Vargas, of Kailua-Kona.

Vargas claimed the situation appears to be strange to her not only mainly because of the “outrageous” dollar determine of the fine, but also mainly because the cats have been on the home for approximately a decade, as have other cats, and no other operator, according to the attorney’s analysis, has ever been fined.

There has been a substantial shift in habits by the board from having no motion with regards to any of the cats to a unexpected and profound action taken in opposition to Cooper, Vargas mentioned.

“Selective enforcement is what I would phone it,” the lawyer mentioned.

The definition of a pet by the Hawai‘i statute definition is also tricky, she additional. It defines pets as animals not becoming saved for usage, which the cats in concern would tumble under. But the law does not specify for cats like Bob and Carol who are not pets by the prevalent conception of home spouse and children users, so to discuss, but who live outdoor and on houses.

Vargas explained she couldn’t speculate why Cooper was getting subjected to fines when other people hadn’t been in the past.

“I would certain like to know the respond to to that similar problem,” she explained.

Cooper is also receiving help from Debbie Cravatta, Kohala Animal Relocation and Instruction Service, or KARES, founder, who is assisting Cooper raise money for her legal combat.

“I’m digging my enamel into it because it’s absurd,” Cravatta stated.

Cravatta stated that relocating feral cats is not a feasible answer because there is nowhere to consider them. Also, cats are pretty territorial animals, and typically uncover their way back again to the place from which they have been taken. 

Cooper explained she desires to proceed to do the right detail, which is to feed the cats, which is also to say, not get started starving them.

“I really don’t recognize why it is turn out to be an issue immediately after all these decades,” Cooper stated. 

She’s additional that she heard she could have a lien levied against her apartment in light-weight of the escalating fines, but even that likelihood won’t halt her from feeding the cats.

“What’s appropriate is right,” she said. “What’s wrong is improper.”

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