#TheList Nathan Sinnitt, born c. 1989, of Victoria Avenue, Wallsend NE28 8SD – masked his pet dog’s extreme pain with second-hand cannabis smoke inhalation instead of taking her to the vets.
Mastiff-type dog Misty was seized after police raided Sinnitt’s home in relation to a suspected drugs farm. Officers found the pet calm but unable to stand or walk properly.
When questioned, Sinnitt and his partner admitted Misty hadn’t been walked or left the house in over eight months because of her mobility issues.
RSPCA officers were called and the dog was taken to a vet but, less than 12 hours later, she was in such extreme pain that she had to be put to sleep.
The vet confirmed that Misty had first appeared calm because of the effects of cannabis inhalation but those effects soon wore off.
Sinnitt failed to show up for his original court appearance but handed himself in to police and appeared for sentencing.
Stewart Haywood, prosecuting, told magistrates that police raided Sinnitt’s home on August 12, 2019, before calling in the RSPCA on discovering Misty.
“Inspectors attended and saw Misty,” he said. “Misty was sitting and, at the time she went to get up, she was very unsteady and struggling to put weight on her front legs and her back legs were uncoordinated. She fell a number of times when trying to get up.”
Misty was taken to the vet, who noted she was also struggling with pressure sores and that her skin showed areas of excessive licking.
Mr Haywood added: “The following day, Misty was seen and had clearly deteriorated. She was in pain.
“It’s the opinion of the vet that, being in the presence of cannabis would have masked the level of Misty’s pain after inhalation, which is why she didn’t feel the extent of the pain until the following day.”
The vet determined that there had been “significant, prolonged suffering” for Misty over a number of months.
Sadly, Misty’s condition was so bad, it was deemed that the most humane action was to put her to sleep.
It was also revealed that Sinnitt was entitled to PDSA treatment and lived just 200 yards from a vet.
Mr Haywood said: “It appears in this case that the defendant couldn’t be bothered to walk the short distance to take Misty to a vet and, instead, decided to take on a criminal lifestyle and grow and smoke cannabis.”
The court heard Sinnitt’s partner also failed to attend a court hearing last week and the case was also proved in absence against her.
A warrant was also issued for her arrest and is still outstanding.
Mark Harrison, defending, said Sinnitt hadn’t deliberately been cruel to Misty but had failed to get her the necessary medical treatment.
He told the court: “These are always emotive cases. The defendant has not been prosecuted for any cannabis recovered from his home address.
“I also don’t consider it to be a particularly helpful point that he should be given any credit for lowering or suppressing Misty’s harm by cannabis.
“I don’t mitigate on the basis Misty’s harm was lowered because of her inhalation of second-hand cannabis smoke. In fact, I’m not even sure of the science to argue it anyway.”
Mr Harrison said Sinnitt was thoroughly ashamed, embarrassed and upset as the dog was initially bought for him to help with his mental health.
Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. Banned from keeping animals for five years.