A five-year-old Malinois dog named "Choco" was discovered lifeless in an abandoned flat in Quint-Fonsegrives, near Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), according to La Dépêche. The poor animal is believed to have died of starvation. Its owner, a 37-year-old man, was arrested on Wednesday and now faces charges of mistreatment and cruelty to a domestic animal, causing death. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.
The case began in early April, when the owner's 27-year-old former partner went to the flat to collect her personal belongings. Alarmed by the foul smell and Choco's lack of response, she asked a friend to help open the door. Both women were horrified to find dead flies, maggots and the dog's lifeless body inside.
According to a source close to the investigation quoted by La Dépêche, Choco tried to survive by eating objects, which probably poisoned him.
The acknowledged facts
The police were informed and an investigation was launched. After nearly two weeks of searching, Choco's missing owner was located and taken into custody. Assisted by lawyer Hugo Groslambert, the man confessed to the facts. The suspect claims that he left the flat in February after being threatened by armed individuals and was too afraid to return. He also expressed regret over the abandonment and death of Choco, according to the regional newspaper. He will soon be tried before the Toulouse criminal court.