On Wednesday, a court in Versailles slapped a 22-year-old dog owner with an eight months suspended prison sentence for animal cruelty.
The man's dog, a French mastiff (or Dogue de Bordeaux), was rescued in August by a man who found her buried alive while walking in a waste ground in Carrieres-sur-Seine, west of Paris.
The man posted pictures on Facebook saying: “Only her head was visible and it was difficult to see given the amount of earth covering her.”
A police source said at the time that the dog was surrounded by stones and her lead was attached to a sack of gravel to prevent her breaking free from the earth.
The story and accompanying pictures sparked outrage in France, with over 500,000 people signing a petition to slap the owner of the dog with a maximum sentence. The post below garnered over 180,000 shares on Facebook.
On Wednesday, the judge was particularly unimpressed with the man's story about how his dog – which was over ten years old at the time and had severe arthritis – had apparently just run away during a walk one night.
“Considering the condition of your dog, it poses more than a few questions that you weren't moving heaven and earth trying to find her,” the judge said.
The judge also questioned why the man didn't get the dog taken in for care, considering its disability.
Despite the man claiming that he was never cruel to his pet, the court also banned him from owning a dog any time in the next five years.
The man was also charged €150 for his abusive behaviour towards police officials when he was arrested, and €1,000 to be shared among seven animal groups.
As for Athena the dog, she died earlier this year under the care of her adopted family.