Polk County man accused of starving and abusing dogs found guilty on 214 counts
Thursday, April 26, 2018- 5:16 p.m.
Numerous animal rights activists, along with many law enforcement officers involved in the investigation, were in Polk County Superior Court Thursday afternoon when jurors announced that Devechio Rowland was found guilty on all 214 counts against him.
According to Tallapoosa Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning, Rowland was convicted on 107 counts of felony dogfighting and 107 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals in Senior Court Judge Richard Sutton’s courtroom.
“You find it hard to put into words how it felt when the jury read back those guilty verdicts, finding him guilty on all 214 counts,” said Browning. “How he treated these animals was reprehensible.”
A tip given to law enforcement brought them to 569 Cashtown Road in Aragon in August 2017, where 70 dogs were found in deplorable living conditions.
Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said it was “the worst case of animal cruelty we’ve ever seen.”
More than 30 dogs were found at his Puckett Road residence in Cedartown just hours after the original discovery on Cashtown Road.
Rowland was previously arrested back in 2010 on similar charges, along with three other individuals in an alleged dog fighting ring, but the case was dropped because a material witness in the investigation had died.
Sentencing for Rowland is set for May 15, where he could face a maximum of 642 years in prison.
UPDATE: Cherokee County Veterinarian Dr. Jeremy Deaton Issues Statement On The Guilty Verdict Of A Polk County Man Charged With Animal Cruelty And Dog Fighting
"It is with a great relief and with a satisfaction of justice that we heard the verdict handed down in superior court today in the large-scale dogfighting case in Polk County Georgia from this past August. I was called to the scene to do a veterinary forensic examination on each of the animals and document our findings for each animal.
The testimony provided this week on each of the animals horrific conditions, as well as providing an explanation of the medications and equipment found at the scene, is the direct result of hundreds of hours worth of investigation and work from our investigating team.
I applauded the intense work of Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning, Polk County detectives, our veterinary team, and all of the animal control agencies (including Dustin Dutton with Cherokee County) and rescues that helped with this intense operation.
Justice has been delivered for 107 animals who couldn’t speak for themselves. We can all rest better knowing this particular individual can never harm another innocent victim."
Dr. Jeremy Deaton