Sophie the German Shepherd’s former owner charged with domestic violence

Grand Strand Crime

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — The man who pleaded guilty in December in a highly-publicized animal mistreatment case has been arrested again, this time for domestic violence, police records show.

Christopher Sauber was sentenced in December to five years suspended to 180 days in jail and three years probation on a charge of ill-treatment of animals. The charge came after then nine-month-old German Shepherd Sophie was found locked in a cage in an extended stay hotel room, malnourished and covered in sores.

Online records show Sauber was arrested Wednesday, charged with first degree domestic violence.

The charge stems from an incident in early June.

The victim of the assault reportedly told police her and Sauber were driving along Kings Highway when he stopped, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out of the car.

Sauber allegedly hit her in the face and strangled her with his hands, saying “I’m going to kill you,” the report said.

Police noted the victim’s right eye was bruised and swollen, and there was also a scuff mark on her left knee. Officers said in the report the first degree charge was because he knew the victim was pregnant and attempted to kill the victim by choking her.

A bond hearing as held at 9 a.m. Thursday for Sauber, during which a judge set a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. According to court records, Sauber posted bond the same day.

Back in December, a judge took into account Sauber’s several tours in Iraq and PTSD during sentencing. A plea deal knocked down his sentence from a maximum of five years to six months behind bars.

“As a matter of fact, the judge told him ‘you would not be getting this deal unless you served tours in Iraq,” 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson told News13 at the time. “It doesn’t make this right, it simply mitigates it, it gives an excuse for why this may have occurred.”

The severity of the case garnered a public following after police discovered Sophie appearing “near death from infection.”

“When she came to us we knew she immediately needed emergency care,” said Executive Director of the Grand Strand Humane Society, Jessica Wnuk said last year. “We called the Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital and they were amazing, they were on standby for her.”

Many in the community followed Sohpie’s road to recovery and provided her with support- from hosting a chicken bog fundraiser to raising $15,000 for her treatment.

Sophie now has a new owner and seems happier than ever.

Count on News13 for updates on this case.

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