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Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr - E-mail: [email protected]

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PETITION TARGET: Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr

UPDATE (7/11/2019): Richard Piquard was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in the Worcester County House of Correction and will serve 90 days in jail, at which point he’ll be released on supervised probation for the remainder of the sentence. Piquard must pay $1,113.68 restitution to the medical center that treated Chico, and he has been ordered to complete an intensive substance abuse treatment program, undergo mental health evaluation and treatment and may not possess an animal. LFT believes 90 days in jail is not justice for for dog who suffered an excruciating death buried alive.


In a heartbreaking case of animal cruelty, a man buried an 18-year-old dog alive in the backyard of his Northbridge, Massachusetts home. The helpless, elderly dog was left to suffocate in the dirt, terrified and trapped under a large rock for at least five hours.

When witness Kaylee Belanger found the Shih Tzu — named Chico — in his shallow grave, he was barely breathing, with his nose and mouth clogged with dirt. Clinging to life, Chico barely managed to yelp out in pain and terror.

She rushed Chico to a local veterinary hospital, where they found he was severely malnourished, dehydrated and suffering from shock and hypothermia. He also had anemia due to a serious flea infestation. On top of this, the traumatized senior dog could not move his head or stand due to a suspected dislocated disk in his neck. His hair was matted and filthy, and it is clear Chico suffered immensely long before he was put in a hole in the ground and left to die.

Tragically, Chico couldn’t be saved — his suffering was so intense that vets had to euthanize him.

Police arrested suspect Richard Piquard on a felony animal abuse charge, but he was released after paying a paltry $1000 bail. Clearly, authorities are not taking this horrendous act of cruelty seriously enough.

Sign this petition urging Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr to take a stand and show that this severity of animal cruelty will not be tolerated. They must prosecute Piquard to the fullest extent of the law, and push for a lifetime ban on ever owning an animal again.