Christy Hopkins has been ID’d by Volusia County Sheriff’s Office as the woman arrested after beachgoers observed her repeatedly lifting a small dog up off the sand by its leash and swinging it into the ocean while visiting Bethune Beach Park in Florida.
After police arrived on scene, Hopkins was seen clutching a traumatized 5-pound black teacup Shih Tzu under her right arm, according to the affidavit. The report said the dog was drenched, covered in sand, shaking, appeared to be coughing up water and was clearly in distress.
Deputies said a witness reported seeing a woman in a black bikini top slinging a dog around by its leash and throwing it into the ocean in water that was above its head, then picking it up by its leash and throwing it into the water again. source
When confronted, Hopkins, 38, told police that the dog was “having fun,” and when she attempted to demonstrate how she lifted the dog off the ground by its leash, the deputy stopped her fearing for the animal, according to the report. She went on to say she was only caring for the dog for “weeks at a time” for an ill owner who lives nearby.
Hopkins told the deputy that “Princess Molly” was “having fun” and was never in danger because the water was not that deep, the affidavit said.
Hopkins was arrested on an animal cruelty charge. She has since bonded out of the Volusia County Jail.
In an interview with News 6, Hopkins said she was having a fun day at the beach with her family and the dog.
“He (the officer) said, ‘How’d she get wet?’ I said, ‘She jumped in the water after a bird’ and he says, ‘That’s not true. Somebody said they saw you throwing the dog around and throwing her in the water.’ If he would have let me open my phone and show him the videos, he would have seen that she did in fact run after a bird and jump into the water,” Hopkins said.
She instead provided video of the dog on a kayak while being held and running on the sand.
Hopkins said the dog’s owner picked up Princess Molly from a local animal shelter on Tuesday.