Dogfighting may have been a motive in an overnight break-in at a Macon shelter that left three dogs dead and more than a dozen injured, animal rescue volunteers said Thursday.
Volunteers with the rescue group All About Animals said three large American bulldogs were killed after a break-in at their shelter near Central City Park. As many as 15 other dogs received medical treatment, many of them with serious bite and puncture wounds.
Four more dogs -- all pit bull or bulldog mixes -- were let loose, said Mary Crawford, the rescue groups director. However, all four had been accounted for by 4 p.m. Thursday. One of them was found near the Otis Redding statue at Gateway Park.
Crawford said volunteers arrived about 8 a.m. Thursday to find several cages open and several other breeds of dogs with multiple bite marks. Amanda Reed, one of the volunteers, said at least one of the dogs, a female pit bull, was found with serious wounds that didnt appear to have been caused by other animals.
One of her wounds was not jagged, but instead was a deep, straight cut across the front of her body that left the dog fighting for her life.
All down her legs are straight-line slices, Reed said. These are clean cuts. ... Its really bad.
Its unknown if the dogs at the facility, a no-kill shelter, attacked each other when they were released, or if other dogs were brought in to attack the rescued animals to prep them for dogfighting.
The facility doesnt have a security system, but Crawford said neighboring Georgia Power has been asked to see if its video surveillance picked up any clues to the crime.
Weve just never had anything like this happen before, she said.
The injured dogs were taken to veterinarians in Macon and Milledgeville for treatment, and eight of them have serious injuries.
Nan Ashmore, a surgery assistant with Greenwood Farm Veterinary Clinic in Macon, said several dogs -- all of them American bulldogs and pit bulls -- were taken there for treatment.
(Some of them are) going to need a lot of antibiotics and have their wounds cleaned three or four times a day, Ashmore said.
Two of the dogs at the Greenwood Farm location are being treated for shock, and one of them was touch and go late Thursday afternoon, she said.
This is something that (shouldnt) happen in Macon, for as many dog lovers as we have here, as many rescue groups as we have, Ashmore said. This is very cruel.
Reed called the situation a complete tragedy.
All of us have shed so many tears, she said. We spend so many hours with (these animals) that theyre like family.
Patti Jones, chairwoman of animal advocacy group Central Georgia CARES, said the organization is helping with medical costs and is paying to board several of the animals while they recover.
How human beings can do this, I dont understand it, Jones said. These are docile and sweet animals, and for them to be subjected to this kind of violence is unconscionable. ... Its a sad day for the animals, a sad day for those of us who love them, and its a sad day to be once again faced with the reality of how evil some people can be.
Beyond those with visible injuries are other dogs that witnessed something violent between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.
There are dogs here that dont have wounds but are in shock, Reed said. They just shake and hide in their doghouses. We dont know what happened here last night.
Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to call Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at 877-68-CRIME.
Telegraph photographer Grant Blankenship contributed to this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334. To contact writer Andy M. Drury, call 744-4477.