CONROE, Texas (AP) -

A Houston-area man has been sentenced to five years in prison for dragging a donkey behind his vehicle.

A Montgomery County jury on Wednesday sentenced 30-year-old Marc Saunders of Splendora, who earlier was convicted of animal cruelty in the 2012 incident.

Investigators said a donkey named Susie Q wandered away from her owner's home and Saunders offered to help return the animal. Investigators believe Saunders drove slowly and the animal walked behind the vehicle but then he sped up and the donkey was dragged.

The owners later found the severely injured donkey in a ditch. The animal survived.

An attorney for Saunders said he never intended to hurt the donkey.