Originally Published: 10 JAN 24 10:17 ET
By Angie Ricono and Cyndi Fahrlander
PLEASANT HILL, Missouri (KCTV) — A Pleasant Hill, MO, man is charged with dog cruelty in a case that has gone viral on social media. Matt Fiala faces three charges from an incident at his home on January 2 after a video was shared directly with the police.
That same video was posted on social media and has gone viral. KCTV5 has received calls from people across the country concerned about this case and questioning if police are aware of what happened. Police tell KCTV5 the charges Fiala faces are in connection with that video and he claims to be an animal trainer.
The video shows a man pulling a young German Shepherd to a crate. After the animal is in the crate, the man throws water on it. When the dog tries to escape, the man flips the crate over with the dog inside. Then, the trainer opens the crate door. When the dog tries to escape, the man kicks the crate door right near the dog’s face. The dog can be heard yelping and crying.
The person who took the video can be heard gasping and reacting to what’s happening to the young dog.
KCTV5 connected with the person who took the video, who chose to remain anonymous. They say they took the video because they were worried about what they witnessed with numerous animals.
“It’s just not fair to the dog. Dogs don’t have a voice,” they said. “They don’t deserve that at all.”
“I was appalled,” said Police Chief Tommy Wright. “It was an actionable item that we needed to get to work on immediately. From a personal standpoint, I was appalled. I was angry.”
Fiala was charged with animal cruelty, having more animals than allowed, and having no business license on the day of the incident.
Since then, the video has been shared thousands of times on both Facebook and Instagram.
Christy Byrne, from Madison, WI, called us after seeing the video on social media. “I’m completely horrified,” she told us by phone. “Just horrified.”
“We’re still continuing this investigation,” said Chief Wright. “This is bigger than just that incident. And so we’re trying to leave no stone unturned, and we will eventually present the Cass County prosecutor’s office with a packet to review for other charges.”
The chief says this isn’t the first time they’ve had complaints about this man.
“We know that the neighbors have reported abuse in the past, but it’s always been anonymous,” said Wright. “The difference in this case is that somebody has decided, ‘Hey, it’s time to stand up for these animals.’ And so that and with that video that gives us evidence that we need to put a case together.”
KCTV5 attempted to reach out to Matt Fiala for comment- we have not had a response.
It’s unclear if the business name circulating on social media is the name of the boarding/training business Fiala operated. KCTV5 found a registered business under the name Matthew Fiala connected to the address where police cited him for charges. It’s “Heartland K9 PSA.” But that’s not the business name circulating on social media. The confusion has prompted other licensed animal trainers to publicly posted they have no affiliation with that company or trainer.
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