A 36-year-old man was convicted Tuesday of breaking the neck of a Chihuahua who bit his finger while he was dog-sitting.

Mohammadreza Shojaei was dog-sitting for an Irvine resident May 26, 2018, when he called police about 3 p.m. to report the canine, Max, he was watching was dying, according to a trial brief from prosecutors. When officers arrived they saw the dog was lying motionless, but alive on the floor, prosecutors said.

Shojaei told officers he threw the dog against a wall when the canine bit his finger and wouldn’t let go, prosecutors said. Officers saw Shojaei had a scratch, but no puncture marks, prosecutors said.

Shojaei also said he had stuck the dog with push pins to see if he was paralyzed, prosecutors said.

A veterinarian treating Max said, “he had seen animals get hit by cars suffer less traumatic injuries,” Deputy District Attorney Michael Briante said in court papers.

The dog suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed and had a grim prognosis and quality-of-life prospects, so was euthanized.

The defendant’s attorney, Kimberly Williams of the Public Defender’s Office, said her client was “hysterical” when officers arrived. He told police the dog hit the wall as he tried to shake Max off his finger when he bit it, Williams said.

Shojaei was convicted of a felony count of cruelty to animals. He was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 27.

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