Fayetteville man John Christopher Short was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of aggravated animal cruelty. Short was released from the Washington County Detention Center on a $7500 bond Thursday afternoon.
According to an arrest warrant, a dog belonging to Short's girlfriend died under suspicious circumstances in March. Police said the dog named Esther had a fractured rear left leg that had to be amputated before its death. The girlfriend, Marye Scantlin, replaced Esther with a puppy named Hector.
In the report, Scantlin said she came home from work one day in April to find her new puppy dead. The report states that Short told Scantlin, "It is not breathing...I think it is dead."
A doctor's report shows Hector died from multiple skull fractures.
Court records show Short has been in trouble with authorities before. In February of 2014, Short pleaded guilty to assault and domestic battery in connection with hitting his girlfriend. In the last two years, two women have filed protection orders against him. In 2012, police said Short shot and killed a man in a struggle over a gun at Short's home. No charges were filed in that case.
Caroline Smith is Short's aunt, and said there is no way Short is capable of hurting an animal.
"We've always had dogs...Chris would not hurt a dog," Smith said.
Smith said Short was a sergeant in Afghanistan in 2005 when his Humvee was hit by an IED. She said Short's leg was amputated, and he suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as multiple surgeries on his elbow.
"They said 'animal cruelty' and I said 'what you've got to be crazy...he doesn't be cruel to any animals. He's got two in the house and I've got one!" Smith said.
Short's next court appearance will be September 17. For more information on the story, click here.