Tennessee dog trainer accused of animal cruelty found dead

Published: Feb. 6, 2019 at 4:47 PM EST
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The operator of a Tennessee dog training company was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Stephen Kinder, the owner of Kinder Dog Training, had previously faced charges of animal cruelty. According to

, a complaint came from an Atlanta woman who booked her Great Dane at Kinder Dog Training for seven weeks. She said when she picked her dog up, she was shocked.

Abigail Eastburn, the dog's owner, said, "You can't imagine what we are going through...and I hope you never have to."

She said she rushed her six-month-old dog to a vet with sores and malnourishment. Eastburn posted before and after photos to show the differences.

Since she came forward, WDEF reported that three more dog owners filed complaints against Kinder.

On Feb. 7, Cleveland police confirmed that Kinder had committed suicide in his car at the American Legion not far from his dog training facility.

“I never expected this to happen” Abigail Eastburn said. “I never wanted this to happen. The whole point of this was to get justice for my dog.”

“I know that there was a lot going on because he told me that himself when I spoke to him, that he was receiving a lot of death threats and that he was going through a lot of shaming on social media,” Cleveland Police Spokesperson Evie West said. “So I don’t know what was going through his mind. I don’t know if it was just this specific incident, I don’t know if it was what was being said, or if it was a collective something that just made him think that this was not worth it.”

Eastburn told WDEF she does not regret talking to the police or media. "I don't feel guilty for sharing my story. We helped a lot of people," she said.

Attorney Jeremy Jones said that while the situation is said, he is continuing with a $6.000 suit on behalf of a Walker County couple, which also names Kinder's wife, Morgan Kinder.