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Leon Cecil Conley III

COVINGTON — A Stockbridge man with a history of animal cruelty convictions is facing 16 counts of animal cruelty in Newton County in connection with more than 20 dogs found on his property in April.

Leon Cecil Conley III, 41, of a Belair Trail, Stockbridge, address, was living in Newton County in April when Newton Animal Services responded to a report of a barking dog at his residence off Fox Meadow Drive.

When authorities arrived, they found more than 20 dogs on the three-fourths-of-an-acre lot that were apparently being trained for personal protection. The dog breeds included various shepherd-types, the majority being Belgian malinois, Dutch shepherd and giant schnauzer. According to the Newton Sheriff’s Office, most of the dogs lacked food and sanitary living conditions.

Newton authorities impounded 24 dogs at the residence. Four were deemed by an accredited veterinarian to be too aggressive to be re-homed. Placements were found for the remaining 20 dogs.

Following an investigation, warrants were issued for Conley’s arrest, and he was taken into custody on Oct. 17. Bond has been set at $1,500 per count. According to the county, the investigation was delayed by circumstances out of the control of Animal Services, the Sheriff’s Office and the judiciary.

Conley has also been cited by Newton County Code Enforcement for operating a business without a license.

Conley was previously convicted and imprisoned on several counts of cruelty to animals in Cobb County in 2006 and one count of dogfighting.

In that case, Cobb County authorities found 15 fighting dogs at Conley’s house in Mableton. He was charged with 11 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, four counts of cruelty to animals and one count of dogfighting. In that incident, police described the dogs as living in deplorable conditions without adequate food or water.

Conley was released from prison in 2011.

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I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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