Neighbors find 16 dead dogs, apparently executed a month after owner was reported for animal cruelty

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When Stephanie Maro heard a Georgia dog owner was recently evicted from his home, her heart was with his pets.

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A concerned Maro and her husband went to the Old Sanders Farm Road home to check on the animals only to find 16 dead dogs on the property, the Athens Banner Herald reported.

Maro immediately called the property owner and the Oglethorpe County Sheriff’s Office, who had warned the dog owner about maltreatment of the dogs just last month, the paper reported.

The dogs, which appeared to be "executed," had already decomposed and were damaged by buzzards by the time authorities bagged the carcasses and sent them to the University of Georgia for necropsies, Oglethorpe County sheriff's Capt. Mike Tyndall told the newspaper.

According to the sheriff’s office, they did not order the necropsies sooner because they were told the examinations would cost between $8,000 and $12,000, the paper reported. However, arrangements were made for the necropsies to be completed for $500. The Humane Society also assisted in transporting the dogs to UGA.

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Deputies were first called to the home on July 19 on a report of animal cruelty.

“He had more than 20 dogs on site,” Tyndall told the paper. “They did need some attention.” The dogs also had issues with worms and fleas.

Tyndall said the owner, who at the time fell on hard times and didn't have the money for proper care, was "put…on notice" and instructed to give the dogs food and water. The man eventually took the dogs to the veterinarian, the paper reported. When deputies returned to the home, they said the dogs looked to have improved.

By Aug. 1, the man was evicted by the property owner. According to the paper, a judge granted the dog owner an extension to find homes for the pets.

“It appeared everything was going well and there was no violations that could be prosecuted,” Oglethorpe County Sheriff David Gabriel told the paper.

A day later, Maro would find the dogs.

Since then, authorities have been searching for the owner, whose name has not been released.

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No charges have been filed in the case.

"It depends on the results of the necropsies and a follow up investigation," Tyndall told the newspaper. "We don't know his exact whereabouts right now, but we need to talk to him, obviously."