Cleveland dog trainer charged with animal cruelty

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Stephen Kinder faces four animal cruelty charges. Images: Cleveland Police Dept./MGN

Cleveland Police are charging a dog trainer with animal abuse and neglect after several people complained that he mistreated their pets.

An arrest report obtained by NewsChannel 9 says Stephen Kinder now faces four counts of animal cruelty charges.

The report says an officer responded to a report of animal abuse at Kinder Dog Training at 3575 Adkisson Drive Suite 1080 early Monday morning.

The complainant told the responding officer that she had put her Great Dane up at Kinder Dog Training for seven weeks. But when her daughter picked up the dog in Georgia 7 weeks later, it appeared malnourished, injured, and had sores on its body.

The report says the officer made contact with two other complainants who heard bad reports about the business and tried to pick up their dogs. The report says they were told the dogs weren’t ready to be released, and it would take another week.

The officer spoke with Steven Kinder’s daughter at the business, who told her her father had just gotten out of jail. The officer then reached Kinder on speakerphone, who told her he was driving to Dalton to pick the dogs up from his home. He told the officer his wife took them there to “take them out of a commotion,” according to the report.

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The officer then met with the complainants as their dogs were returned to them. Both pet owners said their dogs looked malnourished. One remarked that she could see ribs and leg bones protruding through the skin.

In all, a total of four dog owners filed complaints against Kinder, and the Cleveland Police Department arrested him and charged him with four counts of animal cruelty.

The Kinder Dog Training business is still open and operating.

Bob Citrullo of the Hamilton County Humane Educational Society tells NewsChannel 9 his organization has partnered with Kinder in the past to help train shelter dogs with behavioral issues.

He tells us he is going to the facility Tuesday afternoon to bring all the dogs back to the shelter. He says HES workers have never seen signs of neglect among dogs Kinder has handled in the past, and adds, “This is a real shame.”

Late Tuesday morning we interviewed Kinder, who says he is innocent of the charges, and says the situation is not what the dog owners claim. We also have interviewed one of the dog owners, who disagrees with him.

Kinder says all owners have asked to pick up their dogs. He says only 5 are left. They’ll be picked up Tuesday afternoon.

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We are working to find out more information. This is a developing story and will be updated, and we will have more Tuesday night at 5 and 6.

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