A representative image of a Chihuahua being picked up. No animals were injured in the making of this photo. Reuters

A California man has been jailed after hurling a Chihuahua from a balcony, leaving her with significant injuries.

Jose Yvani Herrera, 24, did not admit or deny throwing the dog, but made a plea of no contest to the charge of cruelty to an animal at Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday (17 May).

Prosecutors said that Herrera threw the dog from an address in Artesia Boulevard in Long Beach, where he lived with his ex-girlfriend, her mother and her 10-year-old special needs brother.

The dog – a one-year-old called Pearl ­– is said to have belonged to the boy and was his assistance dog.

She survived the fall, but had "significant injuries to her eye," prosecutors said.

Following the incident, which took place on 7 May, Herrera was arrested by police, but was released on bail till the 17 May hearing.

At the hearing, Judge Judith L Meyer jailed Herrera for three years and eight months. He was also banned from owning, caring for or living with any animals for the next 10 years.