Man accused of amputating dog's leg on trial for animal cruelty

Man accused of amputating dog's leg on trial for animal cruelty

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kahaluu man accused of taking veterinary care into his own hands is now facing an animal cruelty charge. Now his fate is in the hands of a jury.

Accidents happen to animals, but not providing veterinary care afterwards can be animal cruelty.

The dog's name is Volcano Dog. He is a Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix who was about nine months old at the time of the incident last May. His owner John Jenkins says a friend stepped on its front right leg snapping its bone. He says it was in obvious pain, but he didn't take it to the vet.

"This happened to my other dog before and I successfully splinted it up and it healed perfectly so I thought I could do the same thing. Unfortunately in this case it didn't work out the way I thought it would," said John Jenkins, accused of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

Instead the leg got infected and after a week the unemployed property manager from Kahaluu says he took the veterinary care into his own hands.

"It chewed the foot off like a wolf gets caught in a trap it will gnaw itself out because it's in pain and everything. So I think in this case Volcano Dog pretty much chewed off its leg because it was in pain," said Jenkins.

His attorney stopped the interview but in court Jenkins testified he soaked the dog's leg in Hawaiian salt for about a half an hour. Then used regular scissors to cut what was left of the leg off.

"I went to the drawer and grabbed some scissors. Then I took it to the sink and ran really hot water over it," testified Jenkins.

"Why did you run the hot water? What did you think that was doing?" asked Melinda Yamaga, Jenkins Attorney.

"That's just normal common sense to sterilize a mechanism," responded Jenkins.

"So you thought the hot water from the tap was sterilizing the scissors?" asked Yamaga.

"Yes." responded Jenkins. "Then one little snip and the whole paw was off."

During cross examination was asked why he didn't take the dog to a veterinarian even after he amputated the leg.

"I was planning to. I was thumbing through the phone book," responded Jenkins.

A neighbor eventually intervened and took the dog to a professional vet.

"It was your neighbor that recognized the emergency?" asked Anthony Herndon, Prosecuting Attorney.

"The neighbor well pretty much it's obvious they live right next to us and when the dog goes out to use the bathroom it's obvious that they notice it," answered Jenkins.

Hawaiian Humane Society Lead Veterinarian Aleisha Swartz testified that breaking the bone and letting it dangle with Melona Popsicle sticks is clearly not acceptable.

"Bone pain is one of the most intense types of pain. For the dog to have broken his leg and then spent a week with someone trying to splint it with no anesthetics and no pain medication would be horribly cruel and inhumane and extremely painful," said Dr. Swartz. "It was pretty horrifying. The suffering this dog went through just breaks my heart. It keeps us up at night, all of us that do this work."

"You must provide veterinary care to prevent the animal from suffering," said Keoni Vaughn, Hawaiian Humane Society Director of Operations, who also testified in court.

Jenkins says he couldn't afford the vet bills he said would be more than $1,200. Now he is facing misdemeanor animal cruelty with a maximum sentence of a $2,000 fine and a year in prison.

Dr. Swartz says many veterinarians will work out credit plans if money is an issue. She also pointed out owners can surrender the animal to the Hawaiian Humane Society which is available 24/7.

"This isn't acceptable. There are alternatives out there. If he had seen any veterinarian on this island most veterinarians will offer a range of credit plans or different treatment options," said Dr. Swartz. "No excuse."

Volcano Dog broke his leg in April 2012 and the amputation was May 2012. He was operated on and adopted out to another owner and said to be doing well.

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