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Dog trainer charged with cruelty to animals arrested again, bond revoked

Bond revoked for Dylan Shotwell. (Talladega County Jail){p}{/p}
Bond revoked for Dylan Shotwell. (Talladega County Jail)

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Talladega County investigators say more charges are expected to be filed against a dog trainer accused of mistreating animals in his care.

Dylan Shotwell of Sylacauga was originally charged with cruelty to animals on Feb. 9. Additional charges of dog/cat cruelty 2nd degree were filed on May 11, and Shotwell's bond was revoked. He is being held in the Talladega County Jail.

Numerous pet owners have taken to social media sharing stories of how their dogs died, were injured or disappeared while at Shotwell's facility in Sylacauga. Shotwell has used two names for his business according to clients: Push the Line K9 and Iron Grip Training.

Denise Boyce shared her story, explaining how she found Shotwell online, checked google reviews, and met with him in person at her home before signing a contract.

Boyce described her 14-month-old German Shepherd named Gunner as energetic and loving. She was looking for help with leash walking when she signed up for Shotwell's six to seven week training.

But Boyce said when she asked for videos of Gunner to see how he was doing, she only got three second clips which were dark and blurry. After Boyce had hand surgery, she went to see Gunner on his fifth week saying "at first he didn't connect with me." The next week, there were plans to train with him at the facility.

Late one night, she got a call that Gunner had died. Boyce asked how this could have happened to her healthy puppy. She said she was given no reasonable explanation.

"There was no feeling, no remorse, no nothing," recalled Boyce.

Boyce said her son picked up Gunner's body and took him to Auburn for a necropsy. The results should be back soon.

"I went and took my own pictures; it was not natural causes," remarked Boyce. She showed us photos of multiple injuries on Gunner.

"I want to see him (Shotwell) to go to prison. My dog was tortured until he died," said Boyce. "Gunner trusted me, Gunner loved me and I am his voice," said a tearful Gunner.

Boyce and others who say their pets have died, been injured or are now missing while in Shotwell's care have banded together on a Facebook page offering support.

Boyce says she regrets not just taking Gunner with her when she visited him. She noticed he had lost weight, but thought that was due to him being active. "That will haunt me forever," said Gunner.

Kathy Hammonds said the google reviews looked good for Iron Grip. She paid Shotwell $2,000 for training.

Her dog Laser got very sick after somehow getting a lethal dose of THC. A vet was able to save her pet. Hammonds was told by Iron Grip staff Laser must have ingested the drug while on a walk.

Jenifer Goodson's dog Rimbley died after being in Shotwell's training program for three weeks.

She says she dropped off Rimbley on April 15th and received a call on May 9th that she needed to pick up her dog. Goodson says Rimbley was throwing up and emaciated. She passed away days later.

Leo Rueda's dog Kenai lost 20 pounds while at the facility and is suffering from other ailments according to Rueda. He tells ABC 3340 News he has filed a police report. The family says when they dropped off their red-nosed pit bull he weighed 80 pounds and had a clean bill of health.

In addition to fees paid to Shotwell, pet owners say they are also facing steep vet bills for their sick animals.

Chief Tubbs with the Talladega County Sheriff's office asks any pet owners who feel their pets may have been abused or mistreated to call their office. Court documents do not have an attorney listed for Shotwell.

There are no licenses required to become a dog trainer in Alabama. Several organizations offer certification, but it is not required.

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This is a developing story and ABC 3340 News will continue to update.

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