A man who used to breed show dogs was arrested on animal cruelty charges in Cherokee County.
A tip led officers to more than a dozen dogs starving to death.
Rud Tietjen, 55, was charged with animal cruelty and was released on bond Wednesday evening.
Officers confiscated 19 purebred Great Pyrenees and Sheltie dogs from his Ball Ground property. "They are extremely emaciated, anemic and they were covered in fleas," said Susan Garcia, director of Cherokee County Animal Shelter.
Officers said Tietjen won awards showing both breeds in the late '80s to mid '90s. Garcia said the confiscated dogs showed months of neglect.
"They were in kennels in terrible condition with feces, urine and rancid meat," said Alexa Huston with the Cherokee County Marshals Service.
Also found on the property were dog bones and dog carcasses in different states of decomposition, according to officers. They were unsure if the rancid meat in the cages was from dead dogs.
Garcia described the situation as something between an animal hoarding case and a puppy mill. She said most of the dogs were young females, though none were in condition to breed.
She said there were five Great Pyrenees that weighed 47 to 63 pounds when they should weigh upwards of 125 pounds. The other dogs were Shelties that weighed nine to 14 pounds when they should weigh upwards of 25 pounds.
Garcia said the dogs should make a full recovery.
The dogs are currently impounded and not yet available for adoption.
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