Dog trainer arrested after video shows her choking, kicking animals
Florida dog trainer, 21, with large TikTok following is arrested after shocking video shows her choking and kicking animals trusted in her care
- Florida dog trainer arrested after video shows her kicking, choking animals
- Blessing Knighten, 21, has been charged with five counts of animal abuse
- Knighten, who has thousands of followers on TikTok, has been fired from her job
A Florida dog trainer with thousands of TikTok followers is facing abuse charges after she was caught on video choking and kicking animals.
Blessing Knighten, 21, was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday after another dog trainer came forward with several videos of her mistreating pets.
In one video described in a police report, Knighten is seen choking a dog for 15 to 20 seconds as the animal’s legs are lifted off the ground and he cries out in pain.
The woman has since been charged with five counts of animal cruelty as officials say they are looking forward to bringing her to justice.
‘Animal cruelty has no place in our community and we will see it prosecuted every time we can,’ Dave Walesky with Palm Beach Animal Care and Control told WPTV.
In Florida, a first-degree animal cruelty misdemeanor is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and fines up to $5,000.
A Florida dog trainer with thousands of TikTok followers is facing abuse charges after she was caught on video choking and kicking animals
Blessing Knighten, 21, was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County Jail Thursday after another dog trainer came forward with several videos of her mistreating pets
Walesky told the Florida outlet that they are working with the state attorney’s office on this case and other animal cruelty cases in the area.
‘Palm Beach County has zero tolerance for animal cruelty and we’re very thankful for those partnerships with the state attorney’s office and also with the sheriff’s office and all of the other police departments,’ Walesky said.
Investigators were first called in mid-March by Steve Cabral, owner of Fine Line Family K-9.
Cabral lodged complaints against Knighten and another former trainer who later moved to Michigan and has not been named.
In the videos of Knighten, the woman can be seen with a Belgian Malinois and a black German Shepherd.
‘He showed me a video of Blessing Knighten strangling a German shepherd on what Cabral called a bite box,’ the arrest report obtained by WPTV reads.
‘The dog’s front legs were off the ground. She then walks the dog around and the dog appears to be limping and in distress. She then hangs the dog back on the bite box. It struggles, and you can hear the dog yelp.’
The owner of the Fine Line Family K-9 said that Knighten had been fired from his business after just two months.
Investigators were first called in mid-March by Steve Cabral, owner of Fine Line Family K-9
Knighten in a video posted to TikTok. The dog trainer has nearly 5,000 followers on the app
Knighten reportedly told police, however, that it was Cabral who had instructed her to mistreat the dogs.
The investigator said in the arrest report: ‘She stated that if a dog bites, you hold the dog up by the leash and they had to do what was told or they would be fired. Ms. Knighten stated she had a problem with that and how he was treating the dogs.’
‘Mr. Cabral told her that if she had a problem with that, he would show them the videos.’
‘She confirmed that there is a video. I asked if she used his methods and she said ‘yes’ in the beginning, because she was in a bad spot at that time,’ the report reads.
The woman told the investigator that she also believed Cabral’s business was broadly mistreating the animals.
She said the typical practices include ‘not feeding the dogs,’ ‘yanking crank stuff’ and not buying food.
‘The dogs were very, very skinny,’ she told the investigator.
Investigators doubted her story and described the situation plainly.
‘Blessing Knighten abused two dogs repeatedly and defined it as training. This is a clear case of animal abuse causing mental and physical pain,’ the report reads.
Knighten reportedly told police that it was Cabral who had instructed her to mistreat the dogs
‘Blessing Knighten abused two dogs repeatedly and defined it as training. This is a clear case of animal abuse causing mental and physical pain,’ the police report reads
To make matters worse for the former dog trainer, over the weekend, she was once again arrested for allegedly stealing $4,213.53 in items from the business
To make matters worse for the former dog trainer, over the weekend, she was once again arrested for allegedly stealing $4,213.53 in items from the business.
According to local outlets, Knighten was taken to the Palm Beach County jail at 4.25am Saturday on two felony charges of burglary of an unoccupied building unarmed and grand theft of less than $5,000.
Knighten denied that she committed the crimes but police said they found several K-9 training items ‘in plain view.’
The woman was later released on bond.
Knighten is next expected in court date on May 22.
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