A Waynesboro man has been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty for allegedly letting his hunting dogs starve to death.
Stephen Matthew Crooms, 27, was arrested last week and charged with 10 counts of animal cruelty, authorities said.
The carcasses of five dead dogs were found on a Highway 56 farm that was being sold by the man’s family. The discovery reportedly came during an inspection of the barn.
According to media reports, the animals had tried to escape by digging out but were unable to and eventually starved to death. Burke County Sheriff’s Investigator Gene Boseman told the True Citizen newspaper that it was like a “scene from the Holocaust.”
Authorities say Crooms denied the dogs belonged to him, but collars with his name and telephone number were on the carcasses.
As the investigation continued, officers found a dead dog outside Crooms’ trailer and four living dogs without food or water. With temperatures in the teens, the pets were left in the cold without shelter, authorities said.
Family members of Crooms have taken over care of the four living dogs.
Crooms is the same man accused in 2009 of posing as a funeral home employee to collect identity information from at least five job seekers. There was no evidence that Crooms used the personal information for fraudulent means but Georgia law allows charges for the theft of identity information.