Man charged with animal cruelty after dog found buried alive, police say

A 24-year-old man is facing an animal cruelty charge after police say he buried a dog alive.

Northbridge police said they received a call Sunday afternoon from a woman who said she had found a dog buried alive. The woman, Kaylee Belanger, told Boston 25 News that she knew the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Richard Piquard of Whitinsville.

"I got a message from him that Chico passed away last night,” Belanger said. “I said, what do you mean he passed away? How is that possible?"

She said Piquard had been caring for the 18-year-old Shih Tzu for some time, but that Chico and Piquard’s new kitten weren’t getting along.

“Something in my gut was telling me something was wrong, that he just wasn’t telling the truth,” Belanger said.

Piquard’s text message led her to the woods behind his home where she found a pile of freshly laid dirt.

"I lifted up the rock and there (Chico) was underneath,” she said. “I lost all emotions. I was freaking out, turned around to grab the blanket to pick him up and my fiance shouted, 'He's alive. He's breathing.'"

Chico was still alive, but he was suffering from internal injuries and dehydration, according to Boston 25 News. Belanger rushed the dog to the Tufts Veterinary Hospital in Grafton, where veterinarians were able to make him comfortable.

The dog later had to be euthanized, officials said.

"I just don't understand how somebody can do that to an animal and then go home and go to sleep at night snuggling their new kitten," Belanger said.

Police arrested Piquard and charged him with one count of animal cruelty. Piquard was released on $1,000 bail.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.