NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. (CBS) – Police charged a Massachusetts man with animal cruelty after he allegedly buried a dog alive.

Richard Piquard, 24, of Whitinsville, Mass.,  was arrested on Sunday.

The woman who found the dog and called police said the man who buried it had been trying to get rid of it for some time.

“Picked him up and he was breathing and yelping and screaming in pain coated in dirt, his nose embedded with dirt it was horrible,” said Kaylee Belanger, describing the moment she found the dog.

richard piquard Man Charged With Burying Dog Alive

Richard Piquard. (Image Credit: Northbridge Police)

The dog was known as Chico. The 18-year-old Shih Tzu belonged to Richard Piquard’s ex-girlfriend. Piquard had been caring for the dog but Belanger says he wanted to get rid of him. On Sunday, Chico was found barely breathing after being buried in the woods behind a Northbridge home.

“The dog had been buried for approximately five hours,” said Northbridge Police Chief Walter Warchol. “In my 41 years I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Piquard was arrested on charges of animal cruelty. Chico was rushed to Tufts Veterinary Hospital where he had to be euthanized.

Piquard was released on $1,000 cash bail. He is expected to be arraigned in Uxbridge District Court on Tuesday.