June 15, 2010

Department of Agriculture Removes 108 Dogs from Substandard Facility in Miller County

The Missouri Department of Agriculture's animal care team, with assistance from the Miller County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Humane Society of Missouri, has taken action to protect 108 dogs living in substandard conditions in Miller County. The dogs, mostly Shih Tzus, Schnauzers, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels and Pekingese, lacked adequate living space, ventilation, sanitary living conditions and food and clean water at this facility near Tuscumbia, Mo. The Department of Agriculture's Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) program worked with the Miller County Sheriff's Department to execute a warrant to take possession of the animals. The dogs have been transported to the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis pending a disposition hearing to be held June 28.

"This is an excellent example of the renewed cooperation between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and our Department," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "This incident puts in the forefront our joint efforts to crack down on substandard facilities."

Since Jan. 2009, the Missouri Department of Agriculture has stepped up its enforcement actions on substandard facilities in Missouri, resulting in over 3,600 dogs rescued.

Last week, leaders from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Missouri Department of Agriculture met to discuss efforts to enhance collaboration, communication and thoroughness of inspections. Both departments have begun to proactively work together to provide consistent and effective enforcement of licensed facilities in Missouri as well as continued the crackdown on illegal breeders.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture requires any animal shelter, pound or dog pound, boarding kennel, commercial kennel, contract kennel, pet shop, exhibition facility, dealer or commercial breeder to be licensed and inspected annually. The Department of Agriculture routinely works with local sheriff's departments and non-for-profit organizations to rescue animals from substandard facilities.

To help Missouri locate and crack down on substandard breeders, visit BarkAlert.mo.gov.