Heavy chains and bowls filled with rocks and mud were among the items found at a Cherokee County home that led to the recent arrest of a man on dogfighting charges.
The Cherokee County Marshal’s Office was called to perform an animal wellness check at the home in the 6300 block of Union Hill Road on Tuesday and found enough evidence to obtain a search warrant, the agency said in a statement. Nine dogs living in inhumane conditions were rescued, and 58-year-old Randall Larry Thaxton was arrested.
Thaxton was taken to the Cherokee County jail and faces nine counts each of felony dogfighting and misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, authorities were unable to find any food for the dogs and bowls were filled with a mixture of water, mud and rocks. Dog feces was also observed throughout the property and inside kennels, the warrant shows.
Outside the residence, the warrant states that large logging chains, some of which were attached to dogs, were found. Authorities said the chains “are commonly used by dogfighting breeders to strengthen the dog.”
Multiple medications, needles and creams to treat wounds were found inside the home, as well as blood thinners, the warrant reveals. A bite stick, which the warrant states is used during training to pry a dog’s mouth open when it won’t let go of another dog, was also located.
The Cherokee marshal’s office said they found multiple American Dog Breeders Association registration certificates that listed Thaxton as a breeder. The warrant also accuses Thaxton of selling canines to 55-year-old Vincent Lemark Burrell of Paulding County, who was arrested last month for allegedly running a massive dogfighting operation.
More than 100 dogs were rescued from Burrell’s Dallas home after they were found in conditions the Paulding sheriff’s office said were “not fit for humans, much less dogs.” The dogs were tied to various objects with large, extremely heavy logging chains and thick collars, the AJC previously reported. Some of them were emaciated, while others displayed extreme aggression toward other dogs.
Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution