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Pleasant Hill dog trainer faces 3 city charges after viral video showing treatment of German Shepherd

Pleasant Hill dog trainer faces three charges for German Shepherd treatment
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 15:06:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Pleasant Hill dog trainer faces three municipal charges in connection to his treatment of a German Shepherd, which was captured in a now widely-circulated video on social media.

City prosecutors on Monday charged Matt Fiala, 25, with animal cruelty, having too many animals in his home, and not having a business license.

Pleasant Hill Police Chief Tommy Wright said he received a copy of the video on Jan. 2. His officers then responded to Fiala’s home and issued the three municipal citations.

“Watching that video was awful,” Wright told the KSHB 41 I-Team on Tuesday. “It’s terrible and disgusting.” 

The two-minute video shows Fiala putting the German Shepherd in a crate, picking up a green bucket of what appears to be water, and repeatedly throwing water in the crate and at the dog.

Pleasant Hill dog trainer faces 3 city charges after viral video showing treatment of German Shepherd

As the video continues, you see Fiala shove the dog — who is trying to escape — back into the crate. He then repeatedly tips the crate end to end.

After that, Fiala pulls the dog back out of the crate and shoves the animal back in. The video also shows Fiala repeatedly kicking the crate’s door.

Throughout the video, you can hear the German Shepherd crying.

“That video is hard to watch,” Wright said. “Every time I watch it, I get mad; everyone who watches it should get mad.”

Wright said this is an ongoing investigation and his department is working with the Cass County Prosecuting Attorney for possible state charges.

“We are looking at other potential animal cruelty charges,” he said. “We want to hear from anyone who has had experience with this trainer. We want people to know we won’t tolerate this in Pleasant Hill.”

Asked about the German Shepherd in the video, Wright said police still do not know who owns the dog.

“But we don’t believe it’s his (Fiala’s) dog,” he said. “We think it’s a client’s dog.”

He added: “That dog could still be at Fiala’s house. We could not seize the dog. He didn’t let us in his house.”

Fiala told police there are a total of six dogs in his house, and police believe three of them are his.

Wright said Fiala was not arrested and did not have to post bond.

"These are municipal charges," he said. "These are citations. He is not looking at any substantial jail time."

Wright added, "There is an on-going investigation. But our Missouri laws are lax in terms of animal abuse. On the state level, animal cruelty is a misdemeanor."

Police also learned Fiala doesn't have a state license to board animals, according to Wright.

"His facility has never been inspected by the Department of Agriculture," he said.

According to records with the Missouri Secretary of State's Office, Fiala incorporated a business last October under the name Heartland K9 PSA, LLC.

Records show it’s “an association of members who train with the common goal of entering into obedience and controlled aggression trials.”

An internet search shows Fiala also worked under the name of A1 Kansas City Dog Training.

KSHB 41 reached out Fiala on Tuesday. He did not respond to our inquiries.

Fiala is due in court on March 19, 2024, on the city charges.

Pleasant Hill Police ask anyone who has hired Fiala to train their dogs to call the department at 816-540-9109.