Police: Ocean View man killed by dogs in ‘horrific attack’


Police say an elderly man was mauled to death by dogs this morning in Ocean View.

Ka‘u patrol officers responded to an animal complaint shortly before 9 a.m. in the 92-2000 block of Outrigger Drive.


Arriving officers found an unconscious man, believed to be in his 70s, lying in the roadway. A witness reported hearing a commotion outside his residence and saw the man being attacked by four large dogs, police said.

The witness chased the dogs and called the police and paramedics to the scene.

The victim was treated by emergency medical personnel at the scene. He died in the ambulance en route to Kona Community Hospital, police said, and was taken instead to Ka‘u Hospital for the official pronouncement of death.

“There is currently no evidence that the victim provoked this horrific attack,” said Hawaii Police Chief Benjamin Moszkowicz. “This incident is a senseless tragedy that could have been avoided.”

The dogs’ owners were not home at the time of the attack, but they’ve been identified and contacted by police.

Investigators are looking into claims that the dogs had previously been reported as stray animals. In the meantime, the owners have surrendered all four dogs and a litter of 10 puppies to the Hawaii County Animal Control and Protection Agency.

The victim’s identity is being withheld until positive identification is made and the next of kin are contacted. An autopsy will be conducted.

“We offer our heartfelt thoughts to the victim’s family,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “Regardless of the circumstances, this is a tragedy for our island community.”

Police are investigating this incident as a negligent failure to control a dangerous dog case. A county ordinance passed in 2022 provides for felony charges if someone fails to take reasonable measures to prevent an unprovoked dog attack which results in serious bodily injury or death.

Investigators have classified the case as a Class B felony, which means the dog owners could face up to 10 years in prison, a $25,000 fine, court-ordered restitution, and/or the humane destruction of the dogs involved.

The county law came about because of an incident in August 2021, when 85-year-old Hawaiian Paradise Park resident Dolores Oskins was mauled by three unrestrained dogs belonging to a neighbor. Oskins, who suffered critical injuries, died at Hilo Medical Center on Sept. 5, 2021, 24 days after the attack.

This is the second dog attack being investigated under the new law. On May 27, 32-year-old Amber Clausen was attacked by a neighbor’s dog on her Ainaloa Estates property.

The attack left Clausen with both arms broken and multiple puncture wounds and lacerations. Clausen’s 52-year-old mother suffered injuries less severe than her daughter’s, according to police.

The neighbors, 52-year-old Frederick Kassebeer and his wife, Kazzy Kassebeer, pleaded not guilty July 11 in Hilo Circuit Court to negligent failure to control a dangerous dog and permitting a dog to stray. Their next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29 before Judge Peter Kubota.

It was revealed at the July hearing that the dog in question, Zen, is in custody of Animal Control.

Police are asking that anyone with information regarding today’s fatal dog attack contact Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 960-3118 or Donovan.Kohara@hawaiicounty.gov.

Those who prefer anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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