In a Canadian first, a Montreal man was sentenced on criminal charges of animal cruelty for trapping a skunk and leaving it to suffer.

A criminal investigation began in March when a passerby made a late-night call alerting animal control to a skunk stuck inside a trap, "agonizing, but alive," the SPCA said.

After several unsuccessful attempts were made to free the animal, it was taken to a emergency vet clinic and euthanized due to the extent of its injuries.

Gaetan Bouchard, a building owner in Plateau Mont-Royal, was identified as the person who set the trap.

He was sentenced to one year of probation, a $500 fine, and ordered to pay $149 in restitution to the SPCA. 

"Though the sentence obtained in this case is rather lenient, we are pleased to have finally obtained a criminal conviction in a case involving the trapping of urban wildlife, which is something we sadly see too often in Montreal," Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at the SPCA, said in a statement. 

"Given the existence of humane wildlife control methods, trapping or killing animals is never the solution," Devine added.