A Soldotna man accused of animal cruelty pleaded not guilty during a superior court arraignment and bail hearing Monday at the Kenai Courthouse.
Samuel Stroer, 44, was also denied a request for a $500 performance bond as his bail. Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman maintained that the original bail set at a $3,000 performance bond and third-party custodian should remain in place due to the severity with which Stroer allegedly beat a Labrador-pitbull mix, which later had to be euthanized.
“At this point I’m not comfortable removing the third party,” Bauman said during the hearing.
Troopers reported in an affidavit that Stroer beat the dog in his home on Oct. 14, first with a metal pipe and then with a 2-by-4 piece of wood with a screw sticking out of it.
During the hearing, Defense Attorney Nathan Lockwood said Stroer has expressed concern about being able to afford his bail.
Stroer said he is waiting on a call about an upcoming job in the oil industry, which he said he has been in for most of his working life.
Stroer was charged with assault in 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2010 according to Courtview records.
Lockwood argued that since none of those charges were related to animals, a lesser bail amount was fitting.
Lockwood told Bauman that self defense will be the focus of his case going forward, and that he believes it is a strong one.
Eight community members showed up to the hearing in support of the state, including the dog’s former owner before it was re-homed to the house where troopers say the beating happened.
Stroer’s next hearing it set for Dec. 14.
If convicted of the charge of cruelty to animals, Stroer faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
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