POLK COUNTY, Ga. — Police in Polk County have confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that two separate scenes involving neglected dogs are part of the same dog-fighting investigation.
On Wednesday, officers with the Polk County Police Department and several local animal rescue groups tended to 35 dogs at a home on Puckett Road.
Officers received an anonymous tip about the Puckett Road location and searched the property Tuesday night, at the same time they were dealing with a shocking scene in the woods behind a house on nearby Cashtown Road.
Investigators discovered more than 70 dogs, mostly pit bulls, at the Cashtown Road location. Most were in cages or chained to trees or stakes in the ground.
"It's just heartbreaking," said Polk County Police Chief Kenneth Dodd.
Dodd told Channel 2 Action News investigators suspect Devecio Rowland was running a dog-fighting operation.
Rowland currently is facing 70 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges for the Cashtown Road case.
Dodd says he'll be charged with 35 more counts for the Puckett Road case.
Authorities also are pushing for 107 felony charges connected to dog fighting.
Animal shelters from several local counties are working to adopt the dogs from the Cashtown Road location but there's a hold-up with the dogs from Puckett Road.
"The problem here is that we don't own these dogs yet. Our suspect will not sign these over so we're gonna have to go through the court process to get these dogs and that may take 30 days," Dodd said.
Until the department gets custody of the dogs, they can't be adopted.
The department is looking for temporary foster homes for them.
Dodd says Rowland has signed over custody of the dogs from the Cashtown Road location.
© 2020 Cox Media Group