Soldotna man charged with animal cruelty

A Soldotna man has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty after troopers say he beat a dog Wednesday afternoon.

Alaska State Troopers say they responded to the home of Samuel Stroer, 44, in Soldotna just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday after a neighbor called to report a verbal disturbance. They found Stroer had first used a “large metal pipe,” and then a two-by-four piece of wood with a screw sticking out of it, to beat a Labrador-Pit Bull mix named Paco, according to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch. The dog was later brought to the Soldotna Animal Hospital, where it vomited blood before a veterinarian decided it would have to be euthanized, according to the dispatch.

Stroer told troopers he was trying to put the dog in his room when it “got aggressive with him and growled at him,” a trooper wrote in an affidavit. Stoer first beat the dog unconscious with the pipe, then brought it out to his garage, where he beat it again with the lumber after it woke up and “reportedly tried to attack him again,” the trooper wrote in the affidavit. Stroer broke the end off the two-by-four while hitting the dog.

According to the affidavit, Stroer told troopers he was in “fight or flight mode at the time.”

It is unknown whether alcohol was a factor, said Alaska State Trooper Public Information Office Beth Ipsen in an email.

A woman at the house saw Stroer begin the beat the dog, and left the house because of it, according to the affidavit.

Cierra Conklin, of Soldotna, is Paco’s original owner. She said she got the 4-year-old dog from a litter of puppies when he was six weeks old, but had trouble training him as he grew bigger. The dog could sometimes be aggressive to other dogs, Conklin said, but not toward people.

“Never once was he ever aggressive with people,” she said. “I have videos of him playing with my 1-year-old niece.”

Conklin said she brought in trainers to help with Paco, but eventually decided about a month an a half ago that he would do better in another home as she was not strong enough to separate him from other dogs. Conklin said she re-homed Paco to a couple renting the house in Soldotna from Stroer.

He was not intended to be Paco’s owner, she said.

“I just spoke to them (the couple) and they were not home when it happened,” Conklin said.

Conklin said she will pick up Paco’s body from the Soldotna Animal Hospital and take it to be cremated. She attended Stroer’s arraignment Thursday morning at the Kenai Courthouse, where she said he appeared verbally aggressive. Conklin saw Stroer throw papers in the direction of the judge’s seat near the end of the hearing, she said.

Stroer is charged with one count of cruelty to animals, a class C felony. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. Stroer’s bail was set at $3,000, and he will have a representation hearing on Oct. 20.


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