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Animal trainer accused of beating dog faces felony

4:57 AM, Aug 2, 2011   |    comments
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Ryan Matthews, the owner of Off the Leash Dog Training in Loveland, was arrested this weekend and charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal, a felony.

It is alleged Matthews beat a dog inside his shop.

"Whenever we hear about cases of animal neglect and abuse it's heart breaking for everyone involved in the animal welfare industry," Marcie Willms with the Larimer Humane Society said.

According to a police affidavit obtained by 9NEWS, investigators say an employee at Off the Leash Dog Training witnessed Matthews beating a dog.

"This is the first time we've seen an animal trainer charged with such an offense here at Larimer Humane Society," Willms said.

The document says the employee captured photographs of a blood stained carpet, where Matthews allegedly beat the dog. It also says she saw Matthews slam the dog's muzzled nose through some sheetrock in the office and body slammed the dog at least twice while holding its neck.

Matthews is an army veteran who specializes in training military and police canines.

"It's a very rare occurrence for us to pursue a felony charge, so we're taking this case very seriously," Willms said.

Matthews was able to bond out of jail.

9NEWS tried reaching out to Matthews, but he didn't return our calls. He's expected to appear in court at the Fort Collins Justice Center on Tuesday afternoon.

The Larimer Humane Society says he has no prior animal abuse charges.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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