COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — Clayton County Animal Control said it has a message after a man allegedly tied a dog to a tree and then abandoned it in his backyard for almost a month without food or water: See something, say something.
Clayton County Police said the male German Shepherd mix should have weighed about 55 pounds, but it was only 19 pounds when investigators found it.
“It was an extremely painful death," said Capt. Jodi Turnipseed, of Clayton County Animal Control.
He said that painful death happened at a home along Roses of Picardy in College Park.
“We got a complaint from a concerned citizen of a dog they had seen at a neighbor’s residence, and they knew the neighbor was out of town for almost three weeks," Turnipseed said. "It was bad. It was bad for the dog and bad for the person who had to see it like that."
The person who lived at the home didn't own the dog, but was watching it for someone else and is now charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, according to the police report. The specific charges include one count of the confinement of animals and multiple counts of prohibited treatment. According to the police report, the man told police he works as a truck driver and was on the road.
Police said the 4-year-old dog was clinging to life when they got to the property, and investigators initially believed the dog was dead because it wasn't moving.
“The dog was only taking six breaths a minute. He had a heart rate of 40 beats per minute, and the body temperature was so slow that it wouldn’t even register on the thermometer," Turnipseed said.
“If you have a pet, you should treat it like your child or yourself," Musa Easley said, who lives in the neighborhood.
Easley was stunned to hear something like this happened so close to home.
“I feel like that’s inhumane for somebody to basically let a dog starve to death," Easley said.
Veterinarians thought the best thing for the dog was to euthanize it, according to Turnipseed, who said that could have been prevented.
“Please, if you see any animal where the body condition, whether it’s extremely emaciated, or it doesn’t have food water or shelter, that’s not just Clayton County, that’s anywhere, they need to report that to the animal control in their agency," Turnipseed said. "That way we can immediately go and take action.”
Residents can report animal cruelty or abuse in Clayton County by calling Clayton County Animal Control at 770-477-3509.
Police also wanted to remind people it's illegal to tether a dog outside unattended in Georgia. Turnipseed said dogs can be on a trolley system outside for up to 12 hours in Clayton County.