A man has escaped jail after drunkenly attacking a pet turtle at a California nursery.
The tortoise – a 70-year-old African sulcata named Michelangelo – was found bleeding profusely after being stabbed by a 6-inch splinter from a garden gate post.
A rake handle was stuffed between the animal’s head and legs, and broken glass was placed on its back.
George Robles, 42, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, commercial theft and vandalism charges, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
He has also been linked to other burglaries at East San Jose preschools and stole thousands of dollars in items in the days before and after the attack last January.
Robles was sentenced to two years probation and mandatory mental health and substance abuse treatment. He was also banned from keeping any animals for 10 years.
The defendant’s lawyer said his behavior towards the turtle was the result of excessive drunkenness, not animal cruelty.
The tortoise required surgery following the attack, which the veterinarian said was “in good condition”.