Dog trainer charged with nearly 40 counts of animal cruelty and abandonment

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In Alexander County, North Carolina a dog trainer, who ran a business in Bethlehem, faces charges of 19 counts of felony animal cruelty and 19 counts of misdemeanor abandonment of animals. According to WsoctvNews, Matthew Trenton Leeth, 29, had been running a dog training facility where he would acquire dogs and train them as hunting or security animals and then sell them.

Last week, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office had been called out to the property investigating a report of abandoned animals when they saw one dead dog as they looked through a window of the building. After Animal Control officers arrived, they found several emaciated dogs, three dead dogs and ten dead birds (including a cockatoo and nine quail) in a freezer.

Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman shook his head in disgust when he spoke about the horrific scene to WbtvNews  that he and his deputies discovered:

“It’s just uncalled for. They starved to death. There was no food or water for them for at least seven to ten days.”

Leeth told authorities someone was supposed to have been taking care of the animals, but no one has been able to identify that person(s). The five surviving dogs are in the care of the Alexander County Animal Shelter. Leeth was being held under a $200,000 bond pending a court appearance.

(Photo of dog trainer charged with animal cruelty via

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18 replies
  1. LESLIE says:

    Just completely heartbreaking, such an awful way to die, imagine the poor babies that survived watching the others die, knowing they will have the same fate and having to be trapped with the poor dogs that have already passed. So so horrific Karma (squared) to that pos.

  2. Barkley's Mom says:

    I would venture a guess that these dogs were starved for more than 7 to 10 days. I don’t care if he had instructed someone else to feed and care for them the ultimate responsibility was HIS! I hope they prosecute this POS to the fullest, although I will be surprised if the punishment amounts to more than a slap on the wrist!

  3. debor33 says:

    Another person that needs to be treated like he treated those precious babies that died & suffer….these people make me sick…they have no heart….I just cannot understand.

    • Roselyne CORNETTE says:

      Je suis entièrement d’accord avec vous, des monstres, des parasites qu’il faut éliminer. Des dangers pour toutes sortes de vies.

  4. Red says:

    SCUM….lousy excuse of human flesh……. do not believe him. He knowingly murdered these poor animals. Deserves 10 years behind bars, + $100,000 fine and life time ban from every owning or LIVING in the same home as a companion animal.

  5. Bunny Peters says:

    What a disgusting POS…….

    Hope he is arrested & locked up forever with animal lovers who can give him “special attention”…….

    Hope the rest of his useless life is filled with pain and suffering. Execution would improve our planet since this POS is a waste of resources……

    RIP angels. The monster who did this to all of you will burn in Hell forever for his cruelty…….

  6. Pamela D'Angio says:

    Starve the bastard to death and in the meantime he needs someone to beat the shit out of him. I can’t imagine how much abuse these animals took from him to train them. I would like to train this scumbag with a gun to his head.

  7. Cynthia Como says:

    ASSHOLE!! I do not believe a word out of his mouth! He never had anyone that was suppose to come in and take care of these animals! He’s lying!! I wonder if this state has animal cruelty as a felony,if not he will be fined and given probation. Animal cruelty should be a felony in all 50 states,its a horrible,dispicable crime and rises to the level of a felony offense! This is inexcusable and SICKENING! He needs punished not fined!!

  8. Jacqueline says:

    He looks mighty starved too, you disgusting piece of shit!!!! I pray the judge never allows your near another animal you need some jail time with no food and water.

  9. pennysdachshund says:

    ThIS Horrific treatment of these poor animals IS the Opportunity for the Law enforcement , judicial system and the citizens of the STATE of NORTH CAROLINA to START on a NEW PATH and START being ADVOCATES for abused and helpless animals.. They need to see that the laws are enforced and the PUKES
    DONOT IREALLY MEAN DONOT JUST WALK AWAY for the ROTTEN and CRIMINAL treatment of the very animals that love the BASTARD who did this to them!!!!

  10. Adoptdontshop says:

    Pending a court appearance what does that mean he’s going to get off as soon as you see the judge three dead dogs one dead cockatoo and Nine Dead quail that’s enough to get somebody to get off and he’s supposed to be an animal trainer a comfort dog trainer okay yeah let’s rethink this Re thought throw his ass in jail for 10-plus years what he deserves even the sheriff swearing discussed come on now this is uncalled for just look at the kid you think he’s going to going to do it again slap him on his rist and let him go see what happens!

  11. Nancy Raymond says:

    This so called ‘trainer’ is a friggin’ liar – he left no one to care for these dogs and I hope that bail is way too high for him to meet so his skank white ass can sit in jail – there will be some inmate who will take ‘care’ of him and make Matthew Leeth their ‘girlfriend’ – let him become a victim of cruelty – he so well deserves it.


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