GLENS FALLS -- Glens Falls Police have arrested a local man for allegedly binding and drowning the dog that was found dead in the Hudson River on Thursday.

Matthew D. Wisell, 27, of Prospect Street, Glens Falls, was arrested late Friday night, after tips from the public pointed police toward him. He was charged with aggravated animal cruelty, Glens Falls Police Detective Lt. Pete Casertino said.

The dog's name was Murphy. It apparently belonged to his girlfriend, and had been having minor behavorial problems that prompted her to want to find a new home for it. Wisell did not live with the owner.

Wisell told her he would give it away to someone else, but instead chose to kill it, police said. He not only bound its muzzle and legs with tape, but told police he also held it underwater until it had drowned, Casertino said.

"He went and bought tape before he took the dog for a walk at Haviland Cove. This was a calculated plan," Casertino said.

Casertino said Wisell did not explain why he chose to kill it instead of find a new home for it. The killing happened a couple of weeks ago.

The girlfriend has not been charged. Police said she believed Wisell had given the animal to a couple.

Police got a break in a case when a relative of the dog owner saw a picture of it on the social networking website Facebook that police had released on Friday and recognized it as the former owner's dog.

Wisell was arraigned in City Court on Saturday and sent to Warren County Jail for lack of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bail bond, Glens Falls Police Sgt. Chris Eggleston said.

The small dog was found in the river near Haviland Cove with its snout and legs bound in black electrical tape. A necropsy led to the determination it had drowned.

Glens Falls Police released a picture of the dog Friday afternoon, and numerous tips from the public ensued.

Aggravated animal cruelty is punishable by up to 2 years in state prison.

Police said Wisell moved to the area from western Vermont. He has had a number of arrests in Vermont and New York, and has a prior felony conviction, according to police.

Glens Falls Police were assisted with the investigation by SPCA of Upstate New York and Hudson Falls Police.

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on

(44) comments


Thank you to all parties involved in the capture. Tips were the key to a quick apprehension!


Aggravated animal cruelty? So, he was just being extra mean to the dog? What does it say about a ''human' that can bound a pet (even with behavioral problems) and drown them? Two years in prison is a cake walk for a psychopath like that. We need to seriously reevaluate our justice system.


I hope the female party will be charged and made responsible for the cruelty and the death of this poor dog. How would they like to be bound, gagged and dump in the river!


Good job GFPD. Wonder what he would have done if his kid had behavior problems..There is 5 animal hospitals in Queensbury, 4, from Glens Falls to Moreau. 3 SPCA's, and animal rescues in Warren,Washington, and Saratoga County. Please, what was the excuse again? I just made your case Casertino.


Well said!


Good job Glens Falls PD! I hope he is charged with a felony under the buster law.


Good job to the thousands on social media who shared this story as well! Great job all around!


Astridleigh-I agree, 2 years for killing a dog nut 6 months for molesting kids. Something isn't right....

CO 283
CO 283

Push for 2 years.. then he will go to state prison and not county jail….


How do you figure the female should be charged too? This article does not tell the whole story. It was her boyfriend who did it. He told her he was bringing the dog for a walk and a lady stopped him and was interested in taking him home with her. He told her that "this lady" was real nice and let her take him home. The female never thought this is what really happened to her dog. She was just looking for him to find a good home.


If that is what "truly" happend then this girlfriend hasn't a clue. This girlfriend had to of known what her boyfriend was capable of... in just knowing him in general.

I'm sure this boyfriend was pretty livid many times before this....when he finally decided to tape this dog up and throw this innocent and helpless pup into the water. I'm sure he had outbursts before (and probably saying out loud what he would or would like to do to this dog). Then all the sudden (as you say) he decided to take interest in this dog and take the dog for a "walk?" If this animal's behavior was SO BAD (according to the couple), that he ended up killing this dog, why on earth would this woman allow him to take this dog anywhere?? I'd be suspicious of his story...especially since he just so happened to find "some lady" on the street that took the dog home while out for a walk.. Yeah, that happens "all the time."

Seems like you know this couple?? And after what he did, is she still with him?


Kudos to the GFPD but also kudos to the thousands of people who shared this on social media!!! Awesome what a community can do when we unify!


I'd like to second the notion brought forth by 'informed01' above. There are many ways to take care of an animal with behavorial problems. It's not the dog's fault. This guy took the easy way out, or so he thought. Hats off to the Glens Falls PD!


i hope busters law comes into effect in this case or just let us animal lovers stone him or do a lil water boarding on him

jake fortin
jake fortin

quickly done! Hope the DA goes for a stiff sentence with max and does not cut a plea deal. Tiny little dog was likely the victim of neglect and a lack of training and investment of time and attention based on their easy out choices that took zero into consideration for this little dog. So happy the GFPD have it together. looking forward to seeing this creep do jail time - hope it ruins his life forever.


They need to start getting jail time for animal cruelty !!!!!!! No sense having the law if no judge uses it....


I don't care what the excuse or the reason was, there are too many resources available to help re home this poor dog. Many people would have stepped up and taken him.
What a horrible and frightening end for this poor pup.

someone in glens falls

When I read that horrible story, I never thought that they would actually find the person who did this. I am so glad that they did. How could you do that to a living breathing animal who depends on you? How could you? Did you look into his trusting terrified eyes before you did it?


Compared to last night, this is much better! Thank you to our tipsters and the GFPD for a job well done. Imagine if we continued to work together how many abusers and drug dealers we could put behind bars. It's not ratting, it's for our protection and our children. Let's do it! And yes she should be charged as well. Again. good job all

paper pioneer
paper pioneer

Way to go gfpd now lets hope our court system does that little dog justice.


Thank you GFPD for your fast actions You should release photos of the low-life scumbags responsible for this horrendous act for everyone to see. 2 years is a slap on the wrist. Both parties involved should get life. Murder is murder!


Great job..and thanks to the tips that helped in the apprehension of this monster. I don't care if his record is clean as a whistle....give him the maximum sentence allowed under the law!


thank goodness this animal abuser has been caught.Keep him off the streets away from animals.Punish him the highest extent of the law.Animal abuse must have stricter laws to abuse an animal so defensiveless is out of my comprehension.Most people in jail im sure love animals so hope they give him a rough ride.


Facebook nails another one. Nice work by the public and a great job by GFPD.


Heres the NY mentality. You all voted for Cuomo too didn't you???? Listen I would hate to have a jury of my peers coming from the comment section of this article. Arrest and guilty are to different things folks!! You all have him up for murder charges for gods sakes. If he did this its wrong and discussing. and he should go away. But theres more attention to this than that building on warren street where they are killing innocent babies for cryin out loud... You ppl need to wake up... Wake up NY.....


The girlfriend should also be held accountable. She brought the dog into her home and is responsible for her boyfriend. Women like this allow their children and animals to be abused. She also should be in jail.


What kind of mind thinks to do such a thing? Great job to all involved capturing this sad example of a human being.


Please oh please oh pleeeeez let this conviction stick. 2 years, period. Sends a message to all emotionally-dead animal abusers that you WILL be brought to justice.
If he pleads this down, it's carte blanche to go ahead and torture your animals when it pees on your carpet (because it's been locked up all day with no options.)
All you people yammering for the girlfriend to be strung up as well are out of line. Says right in story she was misled by this zombie that he found a home for it... But yes, it would have been better for her to personally bring it to a shelter.
I wish people would realize all they have to do is call a rescue place, and arrange a pickup. Life saved.
I shudder to think of the fear and terror in the last 10 long minutes of that poor pooch's short life...


This guy is a very dangerous person, this is exactly what happens in the beginning... These people are not able to feel empathy. He wanted to see the poor dog suffer. His girl better see the signs and stay clear away from him. Very scary individual here.


Good job GFPD and thanks, tipster.

At the risk of "piling on" there is a disturbing correlation between people who are OK with abusing animals and also abusing humans.

Too bad it isn't required for prospective animal owners to first attend an animal-training class and maybe also watch Caesar Milan on TV. It's more than likely that whatever allegedly annoying behavioral problems this little dog had - could have been avoided with intelligent training.

Guess that's asking too much. Heck, similar training should be mandatory for prospective parents of children. Good luck on that.


A valid point. Animal abusers will often do the same thing to humans if they get the chance. The courts need to recognize the danger that these animal abusers are: many serial killers started out torturing and killing animals. Only an evil person would drown an animal like this. Normal people bring the animal to a shelter.


Exactly!!! First it's experimenting and desensitizing with vulnerable animals, and then it's onward to vulnerable and weaker people. It's, in the end, a sick power trip.


Dogs are an excellent judge of character. If I had to guess, he growled at or bit this criminal and he made his gf get rid of it........... so he took the poor thing..........


Dennis Prager once made this point about secular culture today.
Imagine his dog and a stranger were drowning at the same time and he could only save one. Obviously he said he would save the stranger, given his Judeo-Christian morals. But unfortunately many out there today would actually save the dog over the person.

The reactions to this story prove his point. There's more of a reaction to this than there was for a man who purposely drove his car into a another, killing the woman inside. He only got six months. The nurse who rightfully reported the man's confession to the police was shunned by her coworkers. There was hardly any outrage over the sentence of only six months.

Yet here we get an outpouring of outrage. Sad. Very sad.


Bingo, I find it hard to believe the nurse was shunned by her coworkers. We are mandated reporters of such things, and we all know that.
As far as your assumption about "proving the point" there are too many variables to say comments to an article prove anything at all.
Take me for example. I was extremely busy when that other story broke, and did not comment on it, but I was logging on and did comment on the dog article.
Does that mean I'd choose a dog over a human in a life or death situation? No!
That's just as bad as the people that say it's hypocritical to love animals and burgers, or plants and salad.
It's just presumptuous and it's likely wrong regarding the majority of us.
To look and think of the deeper nature of commenting about this, the outrage is likely a reflection of how we would feel if someone did something like that to a defenseless pet or family member. How we would feel as secondary or tertiary victims of such a crime. How we would feel as HUMAN victims of crime.


You're exactly right. This Bingo guy is afraid of what's gonna happen to him when he dies, so he in turn must believe in some deity to make him feel secure. Because of this, he is afraid of secularism. Apparently secularism makes people immoral and have trouble prioritizing the value of life... Because killing millions and millions of people because they don't believe the same thing you do is perfectly fine.


Yes because potentially valuing the life of an animal equally to or moreso than that of a human is totally a product of secularlism. Let's set aside for a moment the fact that hundreds of millions of people on Earth already feel that human life is not inherently more valuable than that of animal life. Set aside the capacity on the part of humanity toward abject cruelty. Set aside the fact that animals are inherently innocent whereas humans are capable of heinous and calculated acts.

But no you're right, killing millions of people because they don't have the same imaginary friend as you is much better.

Is this a serious post? Because it sounds like satire. Then again pretty much everything involving theism is a joke.

Religion: An easy way to justify killing other people, coming soon to a place of worship near you! Let's get those secular dogs! RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE.


Bingo I can see where you're coming from, but the guy that hit the woman didn't duck tape that woman's mouth, legs, and arms, then run her over. Not saying an animal life is more important than human. This guy is only looking at a maximum of four years for this premeditated murder. Especially when he will probably only get probation or a slap on the wrist.


This is disturbing.It may just be a dog ,but for someone to be so cruel ,as to go through the premeditated action of buying the items to tie this dog up ,put the thought into killing the dog and then hold this dog down and drown it, is just coldblooded. You have to wonder where it goes from here? It is said that all serial killers start by abusing animals,and this guy is showing the signs of possibly being a late bloomer.. You have to wonder if this guy is the kind of person who would drown his girlfriends baby because it cries to much? All because it was to much trouble to put this dog up for adoption,so this was the remedy.


A few months ago a man in this country from Poland took a little dog offered for adoption on Craigslist and tortured and murdered the poor little thing. (Check out Justice for Puppy Doe on Facebook for the details.) The police described what he did to the dog Medieval torture. When the police were investigating him they found that he not only embezzled money from the Catholic church he was a member of but that he also stole money from the old woman he was hired by her family to care for. Now the police are looking into whether this man also had something to do with her death. I wouldn't be a bit surprised because the correlation between animal abuse and human abuse has already been established. This is a very disturbing case and one that the court needs to take very seriously. Not only should this guy be imprisoned but he should also be monitored for the rest of his life as a preventive measure to protect the public at large.

plain jane

Poor Murphy to be brutally killed by this despicable person. Kudos to GFPD and tipsters for quick and effective work capturing this horrible being. Thank goodness for Busters Law, however there is room for improvement there. 2 years max is not enough prison time for situations like this and others. Hopefully we will work with State law makers to strengthen Busters Law and really punish people depraved enough to harm innocent domestic animals. RIP Murphy.


I urge all readers who care about the treatment of animals to go to senator Greg Ball's website and sign the petition to expand the animal abuse registry to a STATEWIDE registry (I hope someday it will be nationwide). The website address is Please sign and post to facebook for friends and family to sign too, and thanks for caring.


I am astounded by some of the comments here. I agree that this man should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, however to assume that the girlfriend had to have known what he was capable of is ridiculous, my point being that if that was the case many psychopaths would never get their first victim. Many true psychopaths learn to live in society and are very "nice" well spoken people, it's called grooming some spending months, maybe even years gaining the trust of those around them before committing a heinous crime, while others do show more obvious signs, that's not actually the "norm". I agree that if the girlfriend did have any suspicions she should be prosecuted. Unfortunately there is no way to know for sure one way or another, if there was many murders would never get their first victim. I do think that once this true nature is recognized, murders of any kind should be prosecuted to the fullest extent permitted and none should be given leniency to discourage others.

Annie H
Annie H

What is wrong with these people ?? It is like putting a child in the river. These animals are so innocent. We need to band together and force tougher laws for these abusers. There are no excuses for the scum that does this. We have had a lot of abuse come out into the open in my area and everyone is up in arms. See where I come from WE DON'T STAND FOR THIS TYPE OF PERSON !!!!!!! They need to make an example of this FOOL !!! Get the word out THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED , NOT HERE, NOT NOW , NOT EVER !!!!!

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