MANCHESTER, Ga. -- A warranted search of a Meriwether County residence turned up a disturbing find on Friday - dozens of emaciated, flea-infested pit bulls that authorities believe were being trained for dog-fighting.
Suspicion mounted one day before when a deputy on patrol responded to a call about a man walking a small pit bull down the road with a large chain hanging around its neck in Manchester, Ga.
The deputy arrived to find the man, later identified as 52-year-old Sherman Holt, trying to hide the dog from view.
The deputy soon found that the dog was emaciated with its ribs and backbone showing through the skin.
With that initial find and further investigations, the department was able to secure an arrest warrant and search warrant for Holt.
When they arrived at his home at 186 Chapel Hill Road in Manchester, investigators soon found that the dog was not alone.
Photos: Pit bulls rescued from alleged dog fighting training ground
Immediately upon entering, authorities found a pit bull chained to a treadmill being forced to walk. In the backyard they found 34 more pit bulls - all, police said, in various stages of emaciation and flea ridden.
Many of the dogs were chained to car axles with logging chains.
A make shift kennel also housed two litters of puppies. Authorities said these, too, were covered in fleas.
Elsewhere in the yard, investigators found a large plastic drum filled with water and presumably used to force the dogs to tread water.
When the search was completed, authorities said they found other items also believed to be used in pit bull training and dog fighting.
Holt was taken to Meriwether County Jail on 25 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals, one count of dog fighting and 9 counts of felony aggravated cruelty to animals.
His bond was set at $112,500.
Several agencies, including the Meriwether County Animal Control, LaGrange Animal Control, Fayette County Animal Control and Macon-Bibb County Animal Control assisted in the investigation.
The agencies are also caring for the rescued animals.