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A homeless California man allegedly broke into a preschool and stabbed its pet turtle with a wooden stake.
George Robles, 40, was busted Saturday in the horrific attack of Michelangelo, a 65-pound African tortoise at the Play ‘N’ Learn preschool in San Jose, police said.
The reptile — who appears to be between 40 and 70 years old — had to undergo emergency surgery that night and was still recovering at an animal hospital on Monday, the ArchVet Animal Hospital said on Instagram.
Neighbors first called the cops at around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to report a man acting erratically and destroying property at the school.
The suspect caused $1,800 in damages to the building and children’s play equipment — in addition to stabbing the tortoise through his shell with a piece of wood, cops said.
Preschool co-owner Tammy Lariz said she was horrified when she discovered the beloved pet “oozing” blood in his enclosure on Saturday, The Mercury News reported.
“I thought he was dead for sure,” she said. “You just had to be absolutely sick to want to go over there and stab a tortoise like that. He’s super friendly.”
Officers arrested Robles as he fled the scene and placed him on a 72-hour emergency mental health evaluation.
He was also charged with felony vandalism and animal abuse.
“Abuse of a defenseless animal is intolerable and must be addressed,” said acting Police Chief Dave Tindall in a statement.
The incident “underscores the need for continued collaboration with our mental health professionals,” Tindall said.
“I am thankful for our Officers crisis intervention training which resulted in a safe arrest for all those involved.”