Deputies: At least 200 dead dogs found behind Goose Creek home - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Deputies: At least 200 dead dogs found behind Goose Creek home

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The flags represent where remains have been found. The flags represent where remains have been found.

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) – Berkeley County deputies uncovered at least 200 dead dogs and more than 40 living dogs at a home in Goose Creek Monday afternoon.

"This apparently has been going on for some time," said Dan Moon with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.

The owner of the dogs, identified as Loney L Garrett, was taken into custody and charged with ill treatment of animals. According to officials, the owner made no effort to bury the dogs.

For hours, deputies searched Garrett's property, placing pink flags  in the ground to mark the skeletal remains and carcasses of dogs deputies located behind his home.

GALLERY: Deputies uncover hundred of dog bones

"What we've done is we've got a search team and they're going back there again and marking the bones as they find them, marking the carcasses and marking the bone and some of them have been back there a very long time," said Moon.

At last check, deputies said they have uncovered the remains of at least 200 dogs. Not all of them died naturally, they said.

"Some of them we already found do have bullet holes in their heads," Moon said.

Neighbors alerted deputies to the problem when they complained of a foul stench in the air. One of Garrett's neighbors said she saw it all first-hand.  

"There were skeletons in the ditch of dogs, more than one, more than ten and it was just really heartbreaking to know that they died and never got buried," said the neighbor. 

But Garrett's daughter-in-law is standing by Garrett, saying he loved every animal at his home.

"He's not a bad person," said Diane Luckie. "He's not done anything wrong but love those animals."

With caution tape blocking the entrance to her father-in-law's home, Luckie says investigators are painting Garrett as a monster.

"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 said.

However, Moon says he's never seen a case of animal cruelty quite as large as the one deputies uncovered Monday at Garrett's Howe Hall Road home.

Dozens of dogs found alive -- about 45 in all -- are barely hanging on to life, Moon said.

"I don't know how many of them will make it," Moon said. "They are so emaciated, just skin and bones."

Luckie disagrees, saying she feeds the dogs with her father-in-law.

"Those are hunting dogs. They run. They carry their weight off," she said. "You don't want no fat dog."

Deputies said the investigation started two weeks ago after neighbors tipped them off to the alleged animal neglect. They said it was not until Monday, after receiving more complaints, that officials realized the severity of the neglect.

"Don't let the bones confuse you," Luckie said. "They need to go further because there are around here that have property."

Garrett is expected to go before a bond court judge on Tuesday.

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