February 16, 2019

Tennessee dog trainer commits suicide after being accused of animal abuse

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A Tennessee dog trainer ended his life after being arrested on charges of animal abuse, police said.

Stephen Kinder, the owner of Kinder Dog Training, shot himself on Thursday, February 7, inside of his red Chevy car. Police rushed to the scene after receiving a 911 call. Although police said they performed CPR; Kinder was pronounced dead at Tenova hospital, in Cleveland.

Stephen Kinder took his own life after being accused of abusing dogs. | Source: NewsChannel9


The death of the 42-year-old canine trainer came three days after he was arrested for allegedly mistreating the pets of clients in his business.

Kinder was facing five counts of animal cruelty after several dog owners that had left their pets under the man’s care found them malnourished and covered in their urine and feces. Abigail Eastburn was one of the first pet owners to file a complaint against Kinder and his business.


She said she enrolled her Great Dane, Duncan, in a seven-week training program with Kinder, and when she picked the dog, his ribs were visible through his fur, he could barely walk and had sores in his body.

After the initial report was made public, more pet owners went to get their dogs. Jason Boehm filed another report after discovering that his 6-month-old lab puppy was also neglected. A vet noted that the pup was dehydrated and had carpal laxity (a condition affecting the carpal bones caused by weakness of the limbs due to lack of exercise), pressure sores, and was about 10 pounds underweight.


Kinder, told ABC affiliate News Channel 9 that he was innocent of the charges and that the situation was not what the dog owners claimed. He also claimed that he was receiving death threats and ugly comments on social media from animal activists and that they disheartened him.

The man initially arrested and released on a $1250 bond, but after more and more reports were filed, police said he had the chance to turn in himself or be arrested again.


On Thursday, Dalton police got a search warrant to Kinder’s home, which they served at 11:30 a.m. They found 16 dogs in the house, all locked in kennels and covered in their waste. There was also two baby goats, two turtles, a snake, and nine ducks.

There was also a dead turtle and several dead snakes. All the animals were malnourished and living in filth.

Of the 16 dogs, 12 were taken to Canine Rescue; Kinder was training the other seven. All of the dogs received medical care.


On the other hand, lawyer Jeremy Jones said that, although the situation is sad, his demand for $6,000 will continue. The document mentions Mrs. Morgan Kinder, Stephen's wife, in the lawsuit.

Sadly, everyday animals face cruelty from their owners or people who are supposed to take care of them. Last November, a man named Jose Borgos was arrested after he left 21 dogs outside his home in New York during the cold Thanksgiving holiday.

Officer Karen Grenia, a police officer who was on patrol, found 12 Rottweilers in the backyard of a home. She also found another nine dogs placed inside crates in a shed. 

Borgos, who claimed that he was a dog breeder, was arrested and charged for breaking the state law and county code. In Suffolk County, chaining or leashing a dog outdoors when the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit is against the law.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at

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