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Pit bulls impounded in local incidents

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Albany Animal Control officers, working on a tip stemming from a weekend raid on an active dog fighting operation, impounded 21 dogs Monday from an address in the 700 block of 2nd Avenue.

Late Monday afternoon, acting on yet another tip, animal control officers found an additional nine dogs (all pit bulls) at a Wells Avenue location.

One of the dogs was dead at the scene and two others were so badly injured they were not expected to survive.

In the earlier 2nd Avenue seizure, the dogs (12 adults and nine newborn puppies) were pit bull or pit bull mix. Some of the dogs were malnourished, others were constrained by heavy chains and one had apparent bite marks on its neck, police said.

Authorities have cited the occupant of the residence, Carey Culbreath, for animal care violations, but no arrests were made.

"We visited the home as the result of a follow up call," Animal Control Officer Kim Davis said. "We noticed that the dogs were living in unsanitary conditions, some were secured by heavy chains, the water was dirty and there was no food.

"And a decision was made to impound the animals."

Officers are investigating whether Culbreath, who was not on the scene when the officers arrived, has any connection with William Burns, who was arrested Saturday along with 12 others swept up in a multi-agency raid on an active dog-fighting operation at 5205 Dower Avenue.

Thirteen people were charged under felony state dog fighting statutes. Two other people fled the scene and remain at large.

Thirty-two pit bulls were seized at the Dower address in addition to two handguns and four vehicles used the facilitate the operation.

An additional 58 dogs were seized at other locations in Worth and Dougherty counties.

The Dougherty County Humane Society and Dougherty County Animal Control assisted in recovering the animals.

All together, 120 dogs have been seized since the weekend sweep.

Agencies participating in the Saturday raid included the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms, The U.S. Department of Agricultural Office of Inspector General, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia State Patrol Aviation Unit, Dougherty County Police Department, Dougherty County Sheriff's Office and the Dougherty County District Attorney's office.

Officials stress that Culbreath has not been charged, merely issued citations for inhumane conditions, unsanitary conditions, and no tags for the dogs.

When asked if a connection existed between the weekend arrests and the animals seized from Culbreath's home, the GBI's Mike Lewis said, "there is a possibility of it."

Dougherty County Police Chief Don Cheeks, however, said if a connection exists, "I am not aware of it."

Officials are still trying to locate Culbreath.

Albany Police Department spokesperson Phyllis Banks said the dogs seized at Culbreath's property were taken to the Albany Humane Society, but a woman who answered the phone refused to confirm if the shelter had taken in any of the dogs.

The number of dogs seized since Saturday, Banks said, is mind-boggling.

"If all of these animals are connected, then this is really, really big," Banks said.