Jail sentence applauded in Heysham hamster drug case

One of Ntembe's dogs found in the house in Heysham.
One of Ntembe's dogs found in the house in Heysham.

Animal welfare officers have welcomed a prison sentence for a man who was charged with animal cruelty offences which included giving a hallucinogenic drug to a hamster.

Nchimunya Ntembe, 22, of Cypress Close, Lancaster, was handed a four month concurrent prison sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to two Mastiff type dogs and giving cannabis and LSD to a hamster.

RSPCA cruelty - Mr Chow.

RSPCA cruelty - Mr Chow.

Four dogs were found at the premises, in Kingsway, Heysham, three of which - including a mastiff called Troy – were emaciated.

Two mastiff dogs, Faith and Zeus, belonging to Ntembe had fractured skulls believed to have been caused by blunt trauma.

“I have never been involved in anything like this before,” said Sarah Hayland, an inspector for the animal welfare charity RSPCA.

“Animal cruelty is a serious offence and in my opinion I welcome prison, we are pleased with the result.”

The case came to light after a video filmed on a phone was seized by police from a house in Heysham.

The video showed Ntembe and co-defendant Corey Lee Destrow laughing as the hamster – who they nicknamed Mr Chow – ate cannabis leaf and drank fizzy Tizer laced with the hallucinogenic drug LSD.

The pair could be heard on the video saying “we are going to kill it” and “it is going nuts”.

“I was shocked when I saw the footage,” said Ms Hayland.

“It is shocking watching the readiness with how the hamster took this food and the comments.”

Destrow, 22, of Brock Close, Lancaster, appealed his eight-week prison sentence for causing a hamster to be given cannabis and LSD at a house in Heysham. His sentence was reduced to 12 months’ community service, with 80 hours’ unpaid work and a ban from keeping animals for two years.

The duo were at the house with co-defendant Luke Gabriel Horn, who was also charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a Mastiff Brindle dog.

Horn was given a 250 hour community order and banned from keeping dogs for five years.

Ms Hayland visited the home in May 2016, describing it as a “complete mess.”

Ms Hayland said: “The house was filthy, dog faeces everywhere, the dogs had a bare plastic bed, the other dog was found tied to a radiator and the hamster was in a cupboard.

“There were three dogs at the property - two of them belonging to Ntembe and one to another of the defendants.

“Ntembe’s dogs Zeus and Faith were in a terrible state. Zeus’ face was so swollen it was a completely different shape to the shape it should have been and both were very thin and living in filth.

“My impressions are it was a chaotic setup, three young lads who had access to a house, I don’t think they have mature life skills. I don’t know what would possess someone to do something like this.”

All animals have been rehomed after being returned to health by RSPCA.

Nchimunya Ntembe appeared before Preston Magistrates on Monday February 6 via video link from prison – he is already serving a 13 month sentence for possession of a class B drug. Ntembe is also banned from keeping any type of animal for eight years. His full charges: causing unnecessary suffering to two Mastiff type dogs called Faith and Zeus by failing to investigate and treat causes of poor body condition. Causing unnecessary suffering to Faith and Zeus by failing to provide veterinary care for their facial and head injuries. Causing a poisonous or injurious drug, cannabis, to be given to a hamster. Causing a poisonous or injurious drug, LSD, to be given to a hamster. Failing to meet the needs of Faith and Zeus.