Dozens of dogs, mostly small breeds, were living on a wooded Cherokee County property near Cumming. But their living conditions were deplorable, prompting investigators to remove them from the property, the Cherokee Marshal’s Office said Wednesday.
At last count, 357 dogs had been removed from the property, not far from the Forsyth County line, Marshal’s Office spokeswoman Alexa Huston told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But that number has grown, with at least one dog giving birth to a litter of puppies and other dogs expecting.
“It was horrible,” she said. “The dogs were being kept in unsanitary conditions and housed in cages. Underneath most of the cages were feces, urine and dog food that had fallen through the grates.”
Investigators were first called to the heavily-wooded property, located in the 14000 block of Cumming Highway, also known as Ga. 20, in May after a dog purchased from a breeder died, Huston said. On Tuesday, investigators returned to the property for a compliance check and conducted a search for the animals, she said.
“They were still in bad conditions,” Huston said. “They also had an old mobile-home type trailer with cages in there as well.”
The dogs were transported to the Cherokee County Animal Shelter, where they received care, attention and treatment for any medical problems, shelter director Susan Garcia told The AJC. The shelter was able to take in all of the animals due to the number of recent adoptions, she said.
“We were lucky we didn’t have many dogs,” Garcia said.
The dogs are not able to be adopted yet, Garcia said. Since arriving at the shelter, one dog gave birth and other dogs were expected to deliver in the coming days, according to shelter employees.
While most of the dogs appeared to be smaller breeds, some huskies were among those rescued, Huston said.
There were no arrests as of Wednesday evening and attempts by the AJC to reach the property owners were unsuccessful.
The case remains under investigation.
— Photographer Brant Sanderlin contributed to this report.