Police in the US have discovered about 60 to 70 dogs chained to trees behind a house in Georgia.
The Polk County police department shared their grim discovery on Facebook, through a series of pictures and video. Local channel 11Alive reported they were tipped by an anonymous source who led them to the woods. The property is located in the town of Aragon.
Most of the dogs are in a bad shape, and can be seen yapping and jumping around, pulling on their chains.
"Currently on scene of one of the worst cruelty to animal cases we have ever seen," wrote the force on Facebook.
In a video upload, one officer identified as Chief Kenny Dodd explains that the dogs had neither food, water or shelter. He is surrounded by the trapped animals. The woods around him resonate with relentless yelps.
"It's hard to count, they are just tied to trees throughout the woods," Dodd added.
He goes on to explain the chains detaining the animals are about six feet long, and that the dogs cannot roam around. Photos taken at the crime scene also show animals trapped in small cages much too small for their size. The dogs appear to be a mixed-breed of pit bulls.
According to police sources, the house near the woods has been foreclosed. Its former owner has also been arrested. Devechio Rowland was once held on accounts of dog fighting. "We arrested him in 2010 on more than 120 charges of dogfighting and animal cruelty," Dodd said. "I don't think he was ever convicted."
Dodd went on to explain he had asked several agencies to help in rescuing the animals. However, the destruction induced by Hurricane Harvey has prompted many local shelters to take in pets from Texas and are already above capacity.
Dodd's team have provided the dogs with food, and the fire department has given them water in the meantime. "No animal deserves to be treated like that," he added. "It made me want to cry. It was horrible."
Rowland has been charged with at least 60 counts of animal cruelty. According to Fox5 Atlanta , Dodd's priority this time around is to assure Rowland gets convicted for his crime: "We are going to do everything we can to make sure this time justice is served."