On Wednesday, April 5, 2017, officers with the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office received a call to investigate dogs that had been abandoned. Officers responded to a location on Bolick Lane in Bethlehem. What they found there was gruesome.
A number of dogs and birds were found dead and others were discovered emaciated and near death. Last Thursday, Sheriff Chris Bowman said it appeared the animals “had not been fed in seven to ten days.”
Officers were able to contact by phone Matthew Trenton Leeth, age 29 of Denham Springs, Louisiana, who rented the property and had a canine training business there. Leeth stated that he was in Louisiana at another canine training business that he owned. Officers explained to him that he should return to Alexander County in reference to the animals that were found on the property.
Leeth arrived at the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, April 6, 2017, at approximately 10:00 a.m.
Leeth was charged with 19 counts of felony cruelty to animals and 19 counts of misdemeanor abandonment of animals. He was arrested and taken to the Alexander County Detention Center, where he was placed under a $200,000 secured bond.
Leeth contends there was someone assigned to the task of caring for the animals. Last Friday County Chief Deputy Todd Jones said “up to this point there is no evidence of that.”