Dog trainer abandoned dogs, birds inside rented building, police say

ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. -- A Louisiana man that had a dog training business in Alexander County is accused of animal cruelty and abandonment after deputies found multiple dead dogs and birds inside a building the man rented. 

On Wednesday, Alexander County Sheriff's Office received a call to investigate dogs that had been abandoned inside a building on Bolick Lane in Bethlehem. Upon arrival to the building, officers found a deceased dog with the front door padlocked. After further investigations, officers located two dogs in a pop-up camper in small cages. The dogs appeared malnourished, with no access to food or water, officers say. The power company had turned off power to the building back in March.

After entry to the building, officers located five dogs that were extremely malnourished and emaciated with ribs visible. One dog was deceased on the floor of the building. Two more deceased dogs were located in a freezer located in the building. A white cockatoo was also found deceased in the freezer. Nine quail were found deceased in a cage outside of the building. An African grey bird was located in a cage without food or water, officers say.

Officers contacted 29-year-old Matthew Leeth, of Denham Springs, La., who rented and had a canine training business on the property by phone. Officers told Leeth he needed to return back to Alexander County in reference to the animals found on his property.

Leeth was charged with 19 counts of felony cruelty to animals and 19 counts of misdemeanor abandonment of animals. He was issued a $200,000 secured bond.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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