July 14, 2011

Department of Agriculture Removes More than 70 Dogs from Property in Lawrence County

Today, animal care inspectors from the Missouri Department of Agriculture worked to remove more than 70 dogs from a Monett, Mo. facility as the first case of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act. The Humane Society of Missouri, Missouri Attorney General's Office and Lawrence County Sheriff's Department assisted the Missouri Department of Agriculture in the rescue.

The dogs removed from the Monett facility are of varying breeds, and include Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, American Eskimos, Poodles, Beagles, Papillons and Brussels Griffons. Animals rescued today were placed with the Humane Society of Missouri.

"Since 2009, our animal care program has increased inspections, dramatically stepped up enforcement and number of citations and sent a profound message to learn to do the dog business right or get out of the business," said Dr. Jon Hagler, Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. "There is more work to be done - and now more resources to help. This cooperation among our animal care program, the Humane Society of Missouri and Attorney General Koster will help us increase rescues and prosecutions and continue to strengthen the breeding industry in Missouri."

The Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) license for Moser Kennel to operate as a commercial breeding facility was surrendered prior to the rescue. Today's actions followed violations identified in recent inspections directly affecting animal health and welfare and subsequent action taken by the Missouri Attorney General under the Animal Care Facilities Act and the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act.

Violations identified during those inspections included standing water and mud in kennels, standing water in dog houses, inadequate veterinary care, damaged fencing, trash accumulation and weed growth, failure to provide clean drinking water for animals and the presence of rodent droppings. The facility was also cited for using gunshot as a means of euthanasia, a method which is not approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association or permissible under Missouri regulations.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Animal Care Facilities Act program routinely works with local organizations to rescue animals. Since January 2009, actions taken by the Missouri Department of Agriculture have resulted in the rescue of more than 5,100 dogs from substandard conditions.

The Canine Cruelty Prevention Act was approved by the Missouri General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon April 27, 2011. The Act, also known as the Missouri Solution, the result of an agreement between the Missouri Department of Agriculture, commercial dog breeding and farming interests and Missouri-based animal welfare organizations, strengthens standards for veterinary care and living conditions for dogs in commercial breeding facilities. The Act also provides new tools for the Attorney General's Office, including the authority to file criminal charges for "canine cruelty," to seek enhanced criminal penalties for repeat offenders, and to bring civil enforcement actions and seek civil penalties for past violations of the Act.

For more information regarding the Department of Agriculture's animal programs, visit mda.mo.gov.