Cleveland dog trainer charged with animal cruelty

When she picked him up 7 weeks later this past Sunday, he was only 65lbs. (Photo via Abigail Eastburn)

More calls are coming in after Cleveland Police charged a dog trainer with animal cruelty.

An arrest report obtained by NewsChannel 9 says Stephen Kinder, the owner of Kinder Dog Training in Cleveland, 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.

Abigail Eastburn of Atlanta told the responding officer that she had enrolled her Great Dane, Duncan, at Kinder Dog Training for seven weeks. But when she picked up the dog in Georgia seven weeks later, it appeared malnourished, injured, and had sores on its body. Vet records indicate Duncan is underfed, dehydrated and fighting an infection. Records also show the stains on his paws and tail are likely from urine and fecal material.

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.

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.

A Cleveland Police Department detective also tells us Kinder could face more charges. He says since the story broke, four more pet owners have come forward to say their dogs were neglected and abused at this facility.

Kinder says all owners have asked to pick up their dogs.

Kinder Dog Training also faces a lawsuit filed in Georgia. It was filed by a couple from Walker County.

According to the suit, Kinder Dog Training did not provide training they promised.

It also accuses the business of abusing the animal.

The lawsuit says Kinder promised to give the couple their money back and pay for veterinary bills, but failed to do so.

The suit asks for more than $6,000 in damages and fees.

You can read the lawsuit below:

We are working to find out more information. This is a developing story and will be updated.

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