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Former owner of Oahu dog-breeding facility hit with tax evasion charges

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HONOLULU — The former owner of an Oahu dog-breeding facility that had its animals seized because of squalid conditions has been indicted for evading state taxes.

A grand jury on Oahu indicted Vernon Luke on Thursday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/1IcB5hA) reported.

It's unknown whether the charges are related to the dog-breeding operation.

Luke faces six counts of evading state general excise taxes from 2007 through 2012. He also faces six counts of failing to get a general excise tax license, give the state information about his business or file a tax return for the same period.

It's unclear whether Luke has an attorney.

An attorney who represented Luke's now-defunct company Bradley International, Inc. against animal cruelty charges in 2011 didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on Saturday.

Evading general excise taxes is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The other charges are misdemeanors each punishable by up to a year in jail and a $25,000 fine.

The Hawaiian Humane Society seized more than 150 puppies and dogs from the Waimanalo dog-breeding facility in 2011.

Society officials found dogs kept in cages filled with feces and urine. Some dogs suffered eye problems and hair loss and didn't have enough food and water.

Bradley's attorney pleaded no contest on behalf of the company to 153 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

A District Court judge in Kaneohe fined the company the maximum $2,000 for each charge, for a total of $306,000, and ordered the company to repay the Hawaiian Humane Society $370,701 to cover the costs of rescuing and caring for the dogs before they were adopted.

The judge also assessed Bradley $8,415 in court fees.

Bradley paid none of the fines, restitution and fees because Luke dissolved the company, leaving it with no assets.

David Lee Becker, Bradley's former manager, also pleaded no contest to 153 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. A state judge sentenced him in 2012 to six months in jail, or time he had already served in custody.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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