Man jailed for sexual assault on dog
December 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM
A California man was sentenced this week to 10 years in prison for choking and sexually assaulting a chihuahua, and must now register as a sex offender, Sacramento prosecutors said Saturday.

Robert Edwards De Shields, who is confined to a wheelchair, was convicted last month of the crimes against the eight-month-old chihuahua mix living with the family of the South Sacramento home where he rented a living space. He was high on methamphetamine at the time of the attack.

In March the owners found the dog almost lifeless, in pain and in shock, with De Shields in the garage.

A veterinarian later found traces of asphyxiation, as well as serious injuries to the animal's rectum and internal organs. The chihuahua was only able to survive thanks to intensive medical care.

De Shields, a meth addict, has been in and out of custody for years.

In the last 19 to 20 years, he has only been free from jail or monitoring by the authorities for about five months, except for periods when he was on the run, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney's office.

In an unusual move for an animal cruelty case, De Shields was also required to register as a lifetime sex offender, meaning he will have to wear an electronic surveillance device and keep a distance from schools and other places where children gather.

He will serve out his sentence in a state prison.