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Owner left dogs to die, police say

LAWRENCEVILLE - Animal control authorities say they recently made a gruesome discovery in a Lawrenceville man's backyard, where a dog was so starved it had begun eating its cage mate, a black Labrador puppy.

The animals' owner faces multiple counts of animal cruelty, including an unusual felony charge for aggravated animal cruelty.

Police say Toby Breedlove, 40, caged the animals without food at his home on Old Fountain Road.

Authorities were alerted to the situation when Breedlove's neighbor reported a dead dog floating in her swimming pool on May 21. The woman claimed the dead dog belonged to Breedlove, and animal control officers went next door to investigate.

Officers found three dogs in pens in Breedlove's backyard - one dead and two near starvation, according to a police report.

The owner neglected to feed a female black Labrador puppy, which was "left in its pen for days and was partially eaten by its pen mate," another Labrador puppy, according to Breedlove's arrest warrant.

The third dog, a separately caged male Westie, was malnourished and infested with insects, the warrant says.

Breedlove was arrested Thursday and taken to the Gwinnett County Jail. He posted $28,800 bond and was released Friday.

Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said the two surviving animals were seized by officers. Breedlove faces a felony count because the Labrador puppy had died, Schiralli said.

Breedlove on Friday referred all questions to his Buford-based attorney, Wayne Lancaster.

"I haven't seen the police report. I don't know what police are alleging," Lancaster said. "We don't want to comment right now as to anything."