Wednesday (August 30th) Polk County, Georgia Assistant District Attorney Jordan Stover contacted local veterinarian Dr. Jeremy Deaton for mutual aid assistance from Cherokee County in a large scale animal cruelty investigation on-going in their county.
Dr. Deaton along with Cherokee County Animal Control Officer Dustin Dutton and Cherokee County EMA Director Shawn Rogers coordinated the Alabama response to the situation. On Monday, investigators seized over 70 dogs at one location only to find a second location on Wednesday in a remote area of Polk County, at a residence which contained approximately 35 additional dogs.
Cherokee Animal Control took three pregnant females to care for due to the fact their local Georgia shelters were completely overwhelmed. The Cherokee County response team then performed forensic, legal examinations on each animal to document the injuries and visible signs of neglect.
Dr. Deaton stated “it is absolutely heartbreaking to see these animals in such horrendous conditions. With the exception of only a few, these animals were absolutely loving towards investigators. It was refreshing to see over fifteen different departments and organizations working as one force today to help the welfare of these animals. Our team was impressed with the fact that all agencies worked as equals and utilized each investigator’s experiences and talents to execute such a large case.”
According to Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd, a former resident of the Cashtown Road address where the 70 dogs were found has been arrested. Devecio Ranard Rowland stands charged with 70 counts of animal cruelty following his arrest on Monday.
Dodd called it “the worst case of animal cruelty” he’s ever seen. Rowland was also arrested in 2010 along with three other individuals on similar charges – however that case ended up being dismissed, according to Dodd, because “…the necessary and material witness who brought forth the evidence had died.”
Rowland currently remains in the Polk County Jail.
Warning, images may be graphic to some viewers
(Information provided in part by WRGA/www.wrgarome.com)