Late Wednesday night, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force rescued 84 dogs and 17 cats from filthy, unsafe living conditions on a property in Bates County in western Missouri.
?These animals were forced to live in truly squalid conditions, the worst I have encountered in more than 40 years of rescuing animals from abuse and neglect,? said Debbie Hill, vice president of operations, Humane Society of Missouri.
The majority of the dogs and cats were living inside a waste-filled, trash-strewn, dilapidated small house. Many were in crates with so many layers of feces- and urine-saturated newspaper, the animals had no room to stand. Crates with animals in them were stacked on top of each other; others were outdoors, filled with animal waste and with little to no protection from the weather. Some single-dog crates contained two or three dogs. There was no running water on the property, and the majority of the animals didn?t have access to water.
The dogs are small, medium and large breeds, ranging in age from nursing puppies to mature, adult dogs; the cats are all adults of mixed breeds.
A concerned citizen contacted the Humane Society of Missouri and the Bates County Sheriff?s Office about living conditions for the animals.
Both agencies visited the property but were only allowed to view a few of the animals and were not given access to areas in which the animals were living. Recommendations for proper animal care were given to the owner. Conditions did not improve, and the Bates County Sheriff?s Office obtained a warrant to inspect the property and remove animals as necessary.
The sheriff?s office requested the Humane Society of Missouri?s assistance in removing, transporting and sheltering the animals.
A disposition hearing to determine permanent custody of the animals will be held Jan. 2 at the Bates County Court House in Butler, Missouri.
The dogs and cats were transported to Humane Society of Missouri headquarters in St. Louis late Wednesday night. Veterinary triage of the animals was set for 10:30 a.m. today at Humane Society of Missouri headquarters.
In 2011, more than 50 dogs were rescued by the Humane Society of Missouri from the same property under a warrant obtained by the Bates County Sheriff?s Office.
?With frigid weather coming very soon, it?s imperative to bring these suffering animals to warmth and safety immediately,? said Kathy Warnick, president, Humane Society of Missouri. ?As is typical in hoarding situations, people allowed to continue to own animals often continue to collect them. We will provide an extensive report of our findings to the Bates County Prosecutor and recommend prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. The only way to protect animals from these horrific, dangerous conditions in the future is to prevent this person from possessing additional animals.?
To aid in their socialization and recovery, the Humane Society of Missouri is requesting donations of dog and cat toys, long-cut shredded paper, newspapers, towels, blankets and sheets. Donations can be dropped off at the Humane Society of Missouri?s Macklind Ave. Adoption Center, 1201 Macklind Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110.
Monetary donations to provide for the animals? care can be made at www.hsmo.org or by calling 314-951-1542.