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 county 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.