Two weeks after photos of a kennel full of dead dogs circulated social media, court documents confirmed that Carter County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrested a Roan Mountain man in connection with the incident.
Deputies arrested 26-year-old Garrett Birchfield Tuesday on four charges of intentional killing of animals, tampering with evidence, criminal impersonation, theft over $1,000 and aggravated burglary, according to an affidavit from the county.
Carter County dispatch director Dale Blevins confirmed to News Channel 11 late Tuesday afternoon that Birchfield was hired to work as a 911 dispatcher for the county in December.
Blevins said Birchfield was fired Tuesday after the news of his arrest.
Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley confirmed that Birchfield had previously been employed as a 911 dispatcher for Unicoi County.
According to the affidavit, the owner of the dogs reported that four of her dogs and a rifle had been stolen from her residence, 185 Heaton Ridge Road, Roan Mountain, on April 1. She told officers that she found .22 shell casings and what appeared to be pools of blood in her front yard.
When the investigator assigned to the case arrived, the woman told him that she had just spoken to an investigator who took the casings, the serial number for her stolen weapon and three of her other weapons with him.
The affidavit said the woman told investigators that the man was driving a nearby Ford Crown. Investigators approached the vehicle, the affidavit said, and saw a .22 lever action rifle in the back seat. The man, later identified as Garret Birchfield, denied any knowledge of the incident, court documents said.
According to the documents, Birchfield came to the Sheriff’s office for an interview, where he admitted to breaking into the residence, removing the animals and shooting them in the yard. He told officers he took the animals and dumped them on Teaberry Road, documents said, where they were later found.
He admitted to posing as a law enforcement officer to collect the evidence, the documents said.
He is jailed on a $49,000 bond.
Two weeks after photos of a kennel full of dead dogs circulated social media, the Carter County Sheriff’s Department announced that officers arrested a Roan Mountain man in connection with the incident.
Deputies arrested Garret Birchfield Tuesday on four charges of intentional killing of animals, tampering with evidence, criminal impersonation, theft over $1,000 and aggravated burglary, according to an affidavit from the county.
The arrests follow an investigation into four dead dogs that were found earlier this month at a popular dumping site off Teaberry Road in Roan Mountain. Elizabeth Woodby, who said she discovered the dogs one afternoon, said she took photos of the dogs and posted to social media.
The post circulated Facebook in a social media storm, netting hundreds of shares and sparking outrage in the community. While Carter County officials say the dog dumping is part of a larger dumping problem on Teaberry, community members rallied to get answers.
Robin McKamey, a Carter County Commissioner, started a PayPal account to collect donations to be offered as a reward for information that would lead to an arrest.
“There’s so many rescues out here, there’s the local shelter. . . Appalachian Tails, would have taken those puppies to good, loving homes,” McKamey said before the news of the arrest. “There’s no excuse whatsoever for anyone to ever harm an animal. There’s too many people out here to reach out to.”
Stay with News Channel 11 as we continue to follow this developing story.
Editors note: A previous story incorrectly stated the arrest occurred on Monday. It has been changed to correct the arrest date to Tuesday.