Rud Tietjen, 55, of Ball Ground, was charged with 20 counts of animal cruelty after the 20 animals were found in poor condition at his home on Creighton Road, said Alexa Huston, spokeswoman for the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office.
“The dogs were emaciated and showed signs of serious neglect,” Huston said. “The officers found dog carcasses, bones, rancid meat and feces on the property.”
Cherokee Animal Shelter Director Sue Garcia, who helped bring the animals to the shelter, said the scene at Tietjen’s home was the opposite of a good environment for pets.
“The ammonia smell from the urine and the feces was overwhelming,” Garcia said. “It appeared that all they were being fed was rancid meat and old bones and chicken legs. I didn’t actually see much in the cages with the dogs.”
The animals were anemic, malnourished, underweight and were covered with fleas, Garcia said.
“Just not taken care of at all,” she said. “All but one needed to be shaved down because they were so heavily matted.”
Garcia said the animals are showing improvement and are expected to survive.
“Surprisingly, they seemed to perk up just after baths,” she said.
The confiscated dogs, five Great Pyrenees and 14 Sheltand Sheepdogs, are all purebreds. During the late ’80s and mid-90s, Tietjen used to show dogs in competitions, Huston said.
Garcia said the fact the dogs are purebred will help them get adopted, but when or if that will happen is up in the air, pending the charges against their owner.
“At this time they’re not available for adoption,” she said. “That’s pending the court system. He didn’t relinquish them to us so right now they’re just impounded.”
Tietjen was released from the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center on $1,000 bond Wednesday.