PLEASANT HILL, Mo. – The police chief of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, is advocating for stricter animal abuse laws in the state following the circulation of a viral video depicting a dog trainer mistreating a German shepherd. Matt Fiala, the trainer shown in the video, now faces three municipal charges, with neighbors urging authorities to pursue further state charges.
In the two-minute video, Fiala can be seen locking the dog in a crate before repeatedly throwing a green bucket, assumed to contain water, at the confined animal. At one point, he overturns the crate and kicks the door, striking the dog. The shocking display of cruelty has alarmed the community, with one resident expressing concerns about potential harm to humans or other beings if Fiala is capable of such actions towards animals.
The video’s anonymous source, who provided permission to the authorities for its use, stated that they captured the footage to provide evidence of Fiala’s abusive behavior. The Pleasant Hill Police Chief, Tommy Wright, condemned Fiala’s actions, describing them as “disgusting” and expressing gratitude towards those who came forward to report the incident. Wright revealed that the police department had received numerous calls regarding the video, demonstrating widespread outrage.
As the investigation unfolds, it has been revealed that a similar incident was reported anonymously in November. Fiala has since been charged with three municipal offenses, including animal cruelty. However, the law in Missouri classifies animal abuse as a misdemeanor, escalating to a felony only if the animal is subjected to torture while alive. Wright and concerned neighbors believe that the state charges against Fiala should be reclassified as a felony, accompanied by a prohibition on owning animals if convicted.
In addition to advocating for stronger penalties, Wright also supports the implementation of state legislation to regulate dog trainers, as Missouri currently lacks such regulations. A petition has been initiated by a neighbor, urging for state charges against Fiala. It will ultimately be the decision of the Cass County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to pursue these charges.
Despite the ongoing legal proceedings, the status of the German shepherd remains uncertain. Police authorities have indicated that they believe the dog is still in Fiala’s custody but have been unable to contact the owner. Residents who had their dogs trained by Fiala have been encouraged to come forward with any relevant information.
If you have any information or concerns, please contact the Pleasant Hill Police Department at 816-540-9109.
In March, Fiala is scheduled to appear in municipal court to face the charges. The incident has ignited a debate on the need for stricter animal abuse laws and regulations governing dog trainers.