Dalton woman indicted on 22 counts of animal cruelty

The wife of a man who shot and killed himself after becoming the focus of an animal cruelty case has been indicted by the Whitfield County grand jury on six counts of aggravated cruelty to animals and 16 counts of cruelty to animals.

Morgan Kinder, 26, was indicted on the more serious charge of aggravated cruelty to animals for the death of five snakes and one turtle, according to the indictment.

Kinder and her husband Stephen Kinder became the focus of investigations in Dalton and Cleveland, Tennessee, after several people came forward with complaints of neglect at Stephen Kinder’s dog training business in Cleveland.

Detectives from the Dalton Police Department used a search warrant on Feb. 7 at the couple’s home at 810 Mattie Drive, which was described by the police to be in “deplorable condition.” Police found many animals which were “malnourished and living in filth, with the dogs all in kennels and many of them covered in their own waste,” according to the police department.

Stephen Kinder was scheduled to meet with a DPD detective later that day, but he killed himself with a gunshot in what the Cleveland Police Department ruled to be a suicide.

The 16 misdemeanor charges are related to mistreatment of dogs for failing “to provide to such animal adequate food, water, sanitary conditions or ventilation that is consistent with what a reasonable person of ordinary knowledge would believe is the normal requirement and feeding habit for such animal’s size, species breed, age and physical condition ...”

Morgan Kinder was arrested on Feb. 21 and was released on bond. She is scheduled for arraignment on Aug. 19. No attorney is listed on her case, according to the clerk of courts office.

In other cases returned for indictment by the grand jury:

• James Robert Harrison Jr., 51, 1122 Lillian Drive, Dalton, was indicted on charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and false imprisonment. The indictment said Harrison threatened a woman with a gun and held her against her will.

• Leonardo Daniel Lopez-Cruz, 24, 110 Lewell St., Dalton, was indicted on charges of two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and battery. The indictment said Lopez-Cruz threatened a person with a gun and struck another woman who was living with him.

• Stevie Lee Shaw, 53, 132 Bowie Lane, Dalton, was indicted on charges of two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and aggravated stalking. The indictment said Shaw assaulted a woman with a glass bottle and “maliciously caused bodily harm” to the woman. The contact with the woman had been forbidden by court order.

• Lafronta Montrel Wrenn, 25, 900 Autumn Court-9, Dalton, was indicted on charges of two counts of aggravated assault and battery. The indictment said Wrenn attacked a woman with a screwdriver, attempted to strangle her with his hands and hit and bit her.

• Lucky Lee Young, 53, 906 Coogler Road, Dalton, was indicted on charges of aggravated assault and terroristic threats. The indictment said Young pointed a “black replica revolver, appearing to be a deadly weapon,” and threatening to kill another man on April 11.

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