Search warrant served at dog breeder's home

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ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga.,None - The Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating a Henry County dog breeder.

The sheriff's office served a search warrant at Art Washington’s Conyers home Wednesday evening.

Washington is facing multiple charges after Henry County Animal Control officers said they found 61 dogs living in deplorable conditions at Premier K-9 in Ellenwood.

Officers said they also found a dead dog wrapped in a bag on the ground, covered in flies.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Craig Lucie spoke with Washington at his home, but he didn’t want to be on-camera and said he would be releasing a statement.

Washington also told Lucie and a photojournalist not to come back to his home because he would be releasing his guard dogs in the yard.

As soon as the Channel 2 crew left his property, Washington released two dogs, including a German shepherd.

Animal control officers are checking to make sure all of Washington’s horses and other animals at his home are healthy. One of them includes a monkey, and they’re looking into whether or not he has a primate license to own one.

Late Thursday afternoon, Washington sent a one-page statement to Lucie.

The statement said in part, “I am appalled as to what occurred over the past few days, and though I acknowledge that I am ultimately responsible as the owner, I nevertheless would like to explain what led to the situation occurring. I hired help in order to maintain proper care of all my animals while away on a business trip.”

Washington describes how he hired two part-time employees and said one failed to show up to work on time and didn’t answer his phone. He explained why some animals were without water.

“We are in the process of remodeling to install a watering system to give the dogs a constant supply of water, which is especially helpful for the dogs who tip the contents of their water bowls throughout the day,” Washington wrote.

Washington also said, “I would like to formally apologize for all that has transpired these past few days. I would also like to state that I have been cooperating with the State Department of Agriculture and Animal Control Department and that I have been diligent in complying with all of their procedures.”

Lucie contacted the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office to get more information about their search warrant.

“It’s an open investigation and we cannot comment on it,” officials said.