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California man avoids jail after stabbing nursery's pet tortoise in drunken attack

A man has avoided jail after drunkenly attacking a pet tortoise at a nursery in California.

The tortoise - a 70-year-old African sulcata named Michelangelo - was found bleeding after being stabbed with six-inch shards from a wooden garden gate post.

A rake handle had been shoved between the animal's head and leg and shattered glass put on its back.

George Robles, 42, was sentenced on Friday after he pleaded no contest to charges of animal abuse, commercial burglary and vandalism, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

He was also linked to other break-ins at the preschool in East San Jose, and stole thousands of dollars of items in the days before and after the attack in January last year.

Robles was sentenced to two years of probation and mandatory mental health and substance abuse treatment. He was also banned from having any animals for 10 years.

The defendant's lawyer said his behaviour against the tortoise was the result of excessive intoxication, rather than animal cruelty.

The tortoise needed surgery following the attack and was said to be "doing great" by the vet who performed the operation.

Sky News

(c) Sky News 2023: California man avoids jail after stabbing nursery's pet tortoise in drunken attack

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