A Kenosha man is facing a felony count of animal mistreatment after he left his pit bull died after being locked inside a hot room, according to a criminal complaint by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office.

Matthew Petersen, 26, of Kenosha, was charged with a felony count of mistreatment of animals, failing to provide proper food and drink to a confined animal and two counts of bail jumping. If convicted of all charges, Petersen faces up to five years nine months in prison, and/or fines up to $40,000.

According to the criminal complaint, an officer with the Racine Police Department responded to a report of animal mistreatment at 6:27 p.m. Sunday at a residence in the 1900 block of Dean Boulevard. The officers found an pit bull locked in a sunroom “panting with no food or water.” The temperature in the room was between 100 to 110 degrees. The dog, who went by Damon, died while the officers were in the room.

A witness told police he saw the dog inside the room at noon and saw the dog trying to bark and attempt to get out of the room, but he didn’t see anyone home.

Petersen owned the dog. He told police that he put the dog in the room after an unreported break in that happened on Aug. 6. He left at 3:30 p.m. and expected to be gone about 30 minutes, but when he got home at 6:30 p.m. the back door was broken and the dog was missing.

Petersen owned two other dogs, which he kept inside the residence.

Peterson is being held on a $750 bond. A preliminary hearing has been set at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 20.


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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.