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2 arrested in "disgustingly filthy" animal cruelty case


Inside the home where officers found dog corpses and several other neglected dogs on the premises. 


Media Release from Pickens Sheriff


     Pickens County Georgia, May 21, 2018: Following a tip from a concerned citizen, deputies responded to a residence in the Twin Mountain Lake area of Pickens County. Upon their arrival, deputies observed the partially buried corpses of multiple dogs and observed several additional dogs coming in and out of a residence that appeared to be abandoned.


     Upon obtaining a search warrant, deputies and detectives were forced to wear breathing apparatuses to enter the home due to the odor of decay and fecal matter throughout the residence. During the execution of the search warrant, deputies discovered 2 other dogs living in crates found inside the home. Additional dogs were found to be roaming in and out of the home. According to detectives, every horizontal surface of the home was covered with fecal matter and filth.

    During the investigation, detectives were able to learn that the residence belonged to Thomas Lamar Raye and that it had been vacated months before the welfare check. Deputies also learned that James William Raye, the son of James, had been “caring” for the animals by feeding them.

   While on scene, a local veterinarian was requested to come to the scene along with Animal Shelter employees from Pickens County, the Pickens County Marshals Office, and Pickens County Fire and EMS. In addition, animal control officers from Cherokee County responded to assist in the capture of the remaining dogs at large. The local veterinarian stated that this case of abuse was the most “disgustingly filthy” that he had witnessed in 20 years.

   Four of the dogs that were able to be captured were evaluated by veterinarians and found to all have hookworms and roundworms. All dogs are currently in the care of the Pickens County Animal Shelter and being treated for their ailments. Traps are still remaining at the residence to attempt to rescue any remaining dogs that were unable to be caught on site.

   Detectives were able to obtain arrest warrants for both James and Thomas Ray for 2 counts of Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (Felony) and 4 counts of Cruelty to Animals (Misdemeanor). Both have been arrested and are held at the Pickens County Adult Detention Center awaiting a first appearance hearing before the Judge to determine bond amounts and conditions.

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