Jeffrey Dawkins, a 24-year-old Bradley County man, has been charged with four counts of aggravated animal cruelty for allegedly torturing (starving) four dogs.

The four dogs, along with a dead dog found tethered with no food or water nearby, were discovered by the Bradley County Humane Society while looking for a missing “foster” dog. The severely emaciated dogs were subsequently rescued by the humane society.

Dawkins, in a written statement to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, said the dogs were dumped at his residence and were fighting with his dogs for food.

“So I chained them using my collars so they would share the food,” Dawkins wrote. “(The) dogs were sick and (in) very poor condition when they got there. I wormed them and I feed (sic) them as best as I could, I am unemployed.”

However, one of the dogs reportedly belonged to another Bradley County resident who had not seen the dog since May.

According to notes in the investigator’s file, which have been turned over to 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen, the owner of the missing dog said his dog had been injured in a hunting accident and couldn’t have wandered off to Dawkins’ home.

The file also included very disturbing photos of the emaciated dogs.

Deen charged Dawkins with four counts of aggravated animal cruelty, a Class D felony punishable by a maximum six-year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000.