No criminal charges filed against Rockdale K9 officer after three dogs’ deaths

Officer suspended, loses assignment as a K9 handler
Deputy's dogs die, no charges filed
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A Rockdale County sheriff’s deputy will not face criminal charges in relation to the deaths of three of his personal dogs.

On Wednesday, the department said an internal investigation into Deputy Eric Tolbert was conducted regarding a “cruelty to animals’ incident”.

A search warrant “discovered unsanitary conditions and the improper disposal of his personal dogs, which was in violation of Georgia law,” the department said. A CBS46 investigation uncovered Tolbert threw the bodies of his three American bulldogs into a trash can.

Department investigators also sought a misdemeanor arrest warrant on Tolbert but the department said “judges refused to sign the warrant citing lack of probable cause and a conflict of interest, with the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office investigating the incident, instead of utilizing the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.”

The Rockdale County District Attorney’s Office is declining to prosecute the case citing lack of evidence, the department said. A criminal investigation has been closed, and an internal administrative investigation found Tolbert in violation of two department policies. As a result, the deputy was suspended for 32 hours without pay and has lost his designation as a K9 handler.

This information was made public in a media release by the department after the CBS46 Investigates team had been digging for weeks and started asking the Rockdale Sheriff’s Department for answers. Our full investigation into this case will be released in the coming days, with much more of what we uncovered.

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