Man gets 60 days in jail, probation for amputating dog's paw

Published On: Dec 23 2013 09:41:59 PM HST   Updated On: Aug 09 2013 08:09:12 PM HST

Hawaiian Humane Society veterinarians call it one of the most horrific cases of animal cruelty they've seen.

On Friday, a Circuit Court judge sentenced the man who amputated his own dog's paw.

"I loved that dog very much, and there's no way I would have maliciously or intend to harm it," said John Jenkins, 54, in court Friday morning. He apologized for what he admits was a mistake.

"From now on, I will always be careful not to make any mistakes like I did in the past," said Jenkins.

Jenkins said a friend stepped on the leg of his Chihuahua mix puppy, named Volcano Dog, snapping the bone. But, instead of taking the dog to a vet, the unemployed property manager from Kahaluu soaked the dog's leg in Hawaiian salt for half an hour then cut off the paw with scissors.

"There was no evidence that John did this because he enjoys being cruel," said deputy public defender Melinda Yamaga.

It was a neighbor who offered to take the dog to a vet for help.

Jenkin's attorney said her client couldn't afford a hefty bill and thought what he was doing was OK.

"You don’t have to be a veterinarian to be horrified by that. Despite all my training, it’s still shocking to see," said Aleisha Swartz, lead veterinarian for the Hawaiian Humane Society and one of the vets who first saw Volcano Dog when he was brought in.

Swartz said getting immediate medical help for an injured pet will be cheaper than waiting.

"Absolutely getting immediate attention when things like this come up certainly is going to save you money. It’s not going to get less expensive the longer you wait and the poor animal suffered horribly," said Swartz.

A jury found Jenkins guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty.  Judge Patrick Border sentenced Jenkins to one year probation and 60 days in jail.  He was also ordered to serve 200 hours of community service and is not allowed to own an animal while on probation.

The defense said it is considering an appeal.

The amputation happened in May of last year.  Since then, Volcano Dog has received proper medical care and was adopted out.  He is reported to be doing well.

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