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5 Dogs Died in Shipping Container While in Care of Trainer


Five dogs died from heat stroke in a shipping container in Honolulu, Hawaii, recently. The dogs were in the care of a trainer at the time.

Dogs left in shipping container died from heat stroke

According to KHON 2, Gabriella Wilson-Rytting is a dog mom affected by the tragedy. She trusted Exceptional Obedience in Waianae with her 2-year-old German Shepherd, Whiskey. The dog mom enrolled Whiskey in a 10-day immersion training class that cost nearly $3,000. However, on Saturday, the trainer informed her that Whiskey, along with four other dogs, died from heat exhaustion. They were in a 20-foot shipping container at the time. The circuit breaker tripped and turned off the air conditioner. The trainer was not on site.

“I can’t even imagine the way that they ended up suffering in the end, a long, slow heat stroke, that’s not fair,” Wilson-Rytting told the news outlet. Of Whiskey, she added, “He definitely had a lot longer life to live than just two years old and that was taken away from him.”

Trainer responds to accusations of negligence

Leonard Letoto is a trainer and owner of Exceptional Obedience. He told the news outlet that he often left dogs in the container and did not experience any problems previously. He also pointed out that three of the dead dogs were his. It is unclear to whom the other dead dog belonged.

“I’m just kicking myself right now. I’ve been doing so for the last few days. The setup has been in existence for years and I’ve never had an issue with it,” Letoto told the news outlet.

Wilson-Rytting said if she’d known that Whiskey would be left in a shipping container, she would never have left her dog there. She believes Letoto is negligent. The dog mom filed a police report regarding the incident. An investigation by the Hawaiian Humane Society is also underway.

“I totally understand where she’s coming from, but I can’t see how I was necessarily just blatantly negligent in that situation,” Letoto said regarding the dog mom’s claims. However, he told the news outlet that changes are forthcoming at the facility.

That’s not enough for Wilson-Rytting. She wants to know why there was no surveillance camera at the facility. She also wonders why no one was checking on the dogs.

“Why were they left alone for that long when I’m paying you to train my dog?” she asked.

This sad story is an important reminder to always do a thorough investigation on any facility caring for your dog before you hand over any money or your fur baby. Make sure you see the facility in person. Ask about supervision at the facility. Inquire if the owner is onsite 24/7. Get references and verify them. A little bit of due diligence could save your dog’s life.


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