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Man gets jail and probation for amputating his dog’s leg


A Kaneohe man who said he used scissors to amputate his dog’s injured leg was sentenced Friday to a year of probation and 60 days in jail.

A jury found John Jenkins guilty of animal cruelty after a four-day trial. As part of his sentence, he’s not allowed to own pets during his probation, and he must complete 200 hours of community service, according to the Hono­lulu prosecutor’s office.

Jenkins, who turned 54 during his trial, said from his home after the sentencing that he didn’t mean to harm the Chihuahua-Pomeranian mix named Volcano Dog. He said he fashioned a splint with tape, gauze and a Popsicle stick after a heavy-set friend accidentally stepped on the dog’s leg in April last year.

"I figured it was severely sprained or broken," he said, adding that he previously used a homemade splint on his other dog, a Pomeranian named Sassafras. "I had done it before and it healed nicely."

But Volcano Dog ended up chewing through his splint and chewed his paw. "It was hanging by a ligament," he said. "I was very desperate on how to relieve the pain of the dog."

So he came up with a plan: "I put the scissors under very hot water to sterilize it. My brother was holding him, and I just used these very sharp scissors and snipped off the ligament."

In hindsight it wasn’t the best idea, he said, because the leg became infected, and he ended up in court. Neighbors noticed the dog hobbling on three legs and offered to take it to a veterinarian. Jenkins said he called various pet clinics but was quoted $2,000, which he couldn’t afford.

When Jenkins went to pick up the dog at the vet, where Volcano Dog underwent a proper amputation higher up on his leg, police and Humane Society officials showed up. They interviewed him and let him go home with the dog. Several weeks later a Humane Society officer arrived with a citation for animal cruelty.

Jenkins testified in his own defense. The jury deliberated for four hours before convicting him. "It was like a triple whammy," he said. "Not only was my dog injured, it was confiscated and adopted by someone else. And I got convicted."

He’s learned a lesson. "From now on I’ll always take the dog to the vet," he said. "I won’t be trying any self-veterinarian antics."

Since he’s not allowed to have any pets for a year, Jenkins said his brother will care for Sassafras.

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