Three dogs are dead and more than a dozen are injured after a break-in at an animal shelter in Macon Wednesday night.
The culprits evidently staged a dog fight there.
Volunteer Lisa Robinette with the rescue organization All About Animals arrived at the shelter on Riverside Drive Thursday morning to find many of the approximately 70 animals there out of their cages.
"They're normally all penned up but they were all out, maybe 30," Robinette said. Three were mauled to death, others had bite marks, broken bones, and other injuries.
Robinette and other volunteers used water from hoses to separate the survivors so they could be re-caged.
By the afternoon, about a dozen people with the all-volunteer organization arrived to help clean up the mess and care for the animals, ferrying them to local veterinarians.
Whoever broke in only let out the bully breeds, said volunteer Lacey Templeton. "The pit bulls, the American bulldogs, and the boxer mixes...anything big and burley was what was out," she said.
The trespassers may have climbed over a short fence, Templeton said. Macon police are investigating, said department spokesperson Jami Gaudet.
Four dogs were initially missing, but three had been recovered in the surrounding area by Thursday afternoon.
Volunteer Annette Hilburn said she's never heard of anything like this happening inside a shelter. "I'm not only horrified, I'm extremely mad, and just devastated that anybody would even have the nerve to want this to happen," she said.
Macon, like many cities in the South, has an entrenched underground dog-fighting culture that authorities have been unable to break up.
Anyone interested in assisting All About Animals can donate on their Facebook page, Hilburn said. "We're going to have some enormous vet bills," she said, and they would also like to invest in a security system with cameras.