In one of the largest cases of animal cruelty, Loney L. Garrett (pictured) was arrested on Monday and charged with the ill treatment of animals, after Berkeley County, S.C., deputies discovered the remains of more than 200 dogs in his backyard, 45 of which were barely alive, reports ABC News 4.
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The Sheriff’s office was contacted when neighbors complained of an unexplained horrific stench that permeated through the air from Garrett’s property.
When deputies arrived at Garrett’s home, investigators could reportedly see animal bones that had been haphazardly discarded on the surface of a ditch. According to officers, Garrett had not even made an attempt to bury the dogs in many instances.
Police officials spent hours rummaging through Garrett’s backyard, where they unearthed thousands of bones.
Some of the dogs, according to investigators, had bullet wounds to the head.
The officers staked pink flags into the ground in order to mark the carcasses of the dogs.
According to Dan Moon, who spoke to ABC News 4, he had never heard of an animal cruelty case of this magnitude before. Some of the dog bones had been there for years, according to Moon.
The 45 dogs that were still breathing when found were emaciated and nearly on the brink of death. “I don’t know how many of them will make it,” Moon said. “They are so emaciated, just skin and bones.”
Watch video of this incident here:
Still, Garrett’s daughter-in-law, Diane Luckie, is staunchly defending Garrett, telling ABC News 4, “He’s not a bad person. He’s not done anything wrong but love those animals.”
Luckie is disturbed by the fact that deputies have placed caution tape in front of her father-in-law’s home and feels they are making him out to be an unfeeling and cruel individual.
“This is his hobby is to hunt deer and rabbits. He enjoys everything that he does with those dogs. He has no intentions to hurt those animals,” Luckie added.
Regarding the 45 fragile dogs police found — which reportedly have skeletal frames due to malnutrition — Luckie contends, “Those are hunting dogs. They run. They carry their weight off,” she said. “You don’t want no fat dog.”
The case is still being investigated.