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Crime & Courts

South Carolina Veterinarian High On Nitrous Oxide During Alleged Burglary

Hatchet-wielding vet charged in home invasion …

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A prominent Midlands, South Carolina veterinarian was allegedly high on nitrous oxide – and armed with a hatchet – during an attempted home invasion in Richland County last week, according to an incident report obtained by this news outlet.

Michael Sauer, 38, of Columbia, S.C. was arrested by deputies of the Richland sheriff’s department last Friday and charged with first degree burglary. Sauer owns the Paws and Claws animal clinic in Lexington, S.C., however as we reported earlier this week his license to practice veterinary medicine was “temporarily suspended, effective immediately” on August 29, 2022 by order (.pdf) of the S.C. Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, part of the S.C. Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation (SCLLR).

This news outlet has been investigating Sauer’s veterinary practice in the aftermath of reports we received last spring about his increasingly erratic behavior – and alleged instances of mistreatment of animals.



Last March, we received reports of a “heavy police presence” at Sauer’s residence – which is located at 316 Silver Fox Lane in Richland County near Harbison State Forest. Sauer’s business posted to social media that he was “recuperating at home after dehydration from food poisoning” in the aftermath of that incident, but sources familiar with the situation disputed that characterization and insisted drugs were involved.

Of interest? Deputies had been dispatched to the same residence earlier that same week in response to another incident.

This news outlet recently submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for all dispatch requests and related incident reports linked to Sauer’s home address in the hopes of gathering as much information as possible on what has been transpiring there in recent months.

According to the incident report from last Thursday evening (April 6, 2023), Sauer was “very sweaty, agitated and hallucinating” when Richland County deputies arrived at 200 Patio Drive – a residence located approximately 400 feet from Sauer’s home – at approximately 9:30 p.m. EDT.

(Click to View)

Michael Sauer (Facebook)

Moments earlier – a little after 9:00 p.m. EDT – Sauer had been observed on a Ring camera “approaching the front door of the residence” with a weapon believed to be a hatchet.

“Sauer was breathing heavily and seemed hysterical,” the report noted, describing his demeanor on the video footage.

When the occupant of the home declined (understandably) to “immediately open the door,” Sauer allegedly “broke through the door and busted the door frame.” He also allegedly threw the hatchet across the home.

The occupant of the home was able to block Sauer from entering the residence and “was able to force him out of the house.” No one was injured during the attempted home invasion.

Deputies later found a “large number” of what they believed to be spent nitrous oxide canisters inside Sauer’s garage – canisters which were “left in plain view,” according to the report. Upon being transported to Parkridge hospital, Sauer “admitted to the hospital staff that he had been inhaling the nitrous oxide recreationally.”

As of this writing, Sauer remains incarcerated at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center in Columbia, S.C.



Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.



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PGT Beauregard III Top fan April 11, 2023 at 6:01 pm


Know the Risks April 12, 2023 at 8:02 am

That stuff can mess you up for life if abused. Very easy to result in neurological damage.

If you’re gonna get high, please do it safely.

Liz Barrega April 12, 2023 at 7:20 pm

The amount of dirt on this man is staggering. There are groups with hundreds of members sharing stories and evidence of animal torture, abuse, and mishaps. Clients, rescues, employees, etc. This man has a history of abuse and neglect. The things that have happened at his home and workplace are shocking. I’m so glad the doors are closed at Paws and Claws.

Joyce Fleming April 19, 2023 at 3:36 pm

I too have a story about Dr. Sauer’s abuse. I went to him for a second opinion on my dog and was misdiagnosed and prescribed medicine which ultimately led to an excruciating death of my beloved Akita. This was after $3000 of bills. I didn’t realize until I took the records to my former vet what had happened. I was later told by his girlfriend at the time that he performed surgeries while high on cocaine and let unauthorized staff do surgeries.

Dee September 23, 2023 at 6:10 pm

I took my 4 month old shepherd to dr mike after months of taking him to varous vets. Dr Mike found the problem and he is 8 years old today.I never saw the side of this monster you are referring to. He has done xrays on my dogs over the years for free and set up payment plans when we were short. He operated for cancer on my 14 yr old shepherd,and the dog came home like he never was operated on, I knew he was cause he had stitches, but he was playing like nothing happened.He extended his life for six month. Honestly I miss DR. mike and am having a hard time finding a vet that I am happy with, he has a way with dogs and my dogs love him.


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