HomeOutdoorsNewsCalifornia Man Manages to Avoid Prison Time After Drunken 2021 Attack on a Tortoise

California Man Manages to Avoid Prison Time After Drunken 2021 Attack on a Tortoise

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Theodore LIM / AFP)

A Northern California man has reportedly avoided prison time a little more than a year after he was involved in a drunken attack on a pet tortoise.

According to The San Jose Mercury News, the 42-year-old Northern California man, George Robles, drunkenly trespassed at a preschool last year. He then decided to attack the pet tortoise named Michelangelo. Robles had notably been living in a van near the school prior to the attack.

Following the attack, the school’s owner discovered the tortoise bleeding. It also had been impaled in the shell with 6-inch shards from a nearby wooden garden gate post. The man also shoved a rake handle between its head and neck. He then broke floor lamps and put the glass on its back. 

On Friday (December 16th), Judge Robert Hawk sentenced the man to two years of probation. He will also have to do mandatory mental health and substance abuse treatment. The man did plead no contest to charges of animal abuse, commercial burglary, and vandalism earlier this year. He is now banned from having any animals for the next 10 years. The Judge stated that a “clear correlation” between the man’s serious health challenges and substance issues would be better served in treatment. The man is also barred from coming anywhere near the school. 

“He’s got a lot better chance there and the community has a better chance there, than to send him to state prison,” the judge pressed. “Not only would that be a better outcome for Mr. Robles but also for public safety in our community.”

Meanwhile, the man’s public defender stated that his client’s attack on the tortoise was a result of “excessive” intoxication. Rather than animal cruelty. 

Following the Tortoise Attack, The Man Returned to the School & Stole Items 

Robles was linked to other break-ins at the East San Jose school. He even stole thousands of dollars of items in the days before and after the attack. Two days after the attack, the man return to the school and stole expensive electronics as well as caused property damage.

Robles was then linked to a third break-in. Nearly $2,000 in items at the school were taken. He was eventually charged with animal abuse, commercial burglary, and vandalism. The man’s public defender then said, “There is no threat of this reoccurring, this was a very unique circumstance where Mr. Robles was extremely inebriated, and thought the turtle was something else.”

The Judge then emphasizes the importance of Robles staying away from the school after the tortoise attack and theft. “You’re not to go near that school, you understand?” the judge stated. Robles responded with “Yes.” 

The school’s owner did not immediately respond to the judgment passed down to Robles.