February 20, 2009-Working in cooperation with the Newton County Sheriff’s Department, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force is rescuing approximately 150 dogs living in very unsanitary conditions in a substandard dog breeding facility near Seneca, Missouri. One adult Bengal Tiger has also been rescued. The Newton County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant that was served to remove the animals today. The animals are being removed at the recommendation of an independent veterinarian.
There are approximately 130 small breed dogs—Chihuahuas, Boston Terriers, Miniature Pinchers, Lhasa Apsos, Pomeranians, and West Highland terriers. There are also 25-30 large breeds—Huskies, Chow Chows, and Shar-Peis. Approximately 30 of the dogs are puppies and about four are pregnant.
The animals’ wire-bottom cages are observed to be covered with feces and urine. There is no visible food and their water is frozen. The long-haired breeds appear to have matted, overgrown hair. The conditions are comparable to last week’s rescue of nearly 100 Yorkies in Greene County.
Public information indicates that this breeder has had previous violations. In January 2006, the USDA levied $10,000 worth of fines for multiple violations within the Animal Welfare Act. In July 2007, the state seized 150 dogs from the property and sold them at a private auction. The proceeds were given to the owner. No charges were filed at that time.
The rescued dogs will be taken to the Humane Society’s Headquarters on Macklind Avenue in St. Louis for triage. The Springfield Zoo has already taken the tiger off the property. The dogs will remain in the custody of the Humane Society of Missouri until the disposition hearing on March 9, 2009, 8:30 a.m., at the Newton County Courthouse.
If custody of the dogs is awarded to the Humane Society of Missouri, as many of the animals as possible will be made available for adoption. Due to their condition, it may be several weeks following the disposition hearing before many of the dogs would be available for adoption.