VERSAILLES, France - Photos of a dog buried alive up to its head in France sparked an outpouring of anger on social media Wednesday, and police said the owner was taken into custody.
The French mastiff was discovered and then rescued on Saturday by a man walking his own dog on waste ground in Carrieres-sur-Seine, west of Paris.
The man posted pictures on Facebook saying: "Only her head was visible and it was difficult to see given the amount of earth covering her."
A police source told AFP that the dog was surrounded by stones and her lead was attached to a sack of gravel to prevent her breaking free from the earth.
The man called the emergency services and began to free the animal. The dog, "shocked and dehydrated" according to the police source, was taken to a veterinary clinic nearby.
Police quickly traced the animal to its 21-year-old owner who was taken into custody. He denied burying the dog, saying that the animal had run away.
However, investigators said this was "not very plausible".
"The dog is more than 10 years old and suffers from arthritis. It's difficult to imagine her running away," said a source close to the investigation.
The owner will be put on trial for animal cruelty and could be sent to prison for two years and be forced to pay a fine of up to 30,000 euros (US$32,600).
An online petition calling for the "maximum sentence for the owner" had received 135,000 signatures by Wednesday.