February 25, 2009

Department of Agriculture Removes Approximately 200 Dogs in Ozark County

Total Dogs Rescued by State Department Tops 1100 in 2009

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – Today, the Missouri Department of Agriculture took action to protect dogs living in inadequate conditions at an unlicensed breeding kennel near Tecumseh, MO, located in Ozark County. The Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) program worked with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Department to take possession of approximately 200 dogs. District Veterinarian Larry Forgey with the Missouri Department of Agriculture was also on the scene to assist.

This ongoing investigation began in Sept. 2008 when River Valley Puppies Kennels, who has never passed an inspection with the state department, was asked to surrender 50 dogs, pay the Department of Agriculture a licensing penalty fee and have a clear inspection with no violations by Jan. 31, 2009. River Valley Puppies Kennels violated the stipulated agreement and has never been issued a license with the state Department of Agriculture.

“Unlicensed breeders in the state put reputable licensed breeding professionals at a competitive disadvantage and the health and safety of the animals at risk,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Department of Agriculture. “The Department of Agriculture will continue to crack down on those who willfully violate the law.”

Recently, the Department of Agriculture discovered the unlicensed kennel continuing their business and took the necessary steps to remove the medium breed dogs from the property. Operating without a license in Missouri is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by a $1000 fine. The Department of Agriculture is working with animal shelters across Missouri for placement. Since Jan. 2009, ACFA has taken 23 enforcement actions on substandard facilities in Missouri, resulting in over 1100 dogs rescued.

The 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. Missouri is one of the only states in the nation with an animal care program. ACFA Inspectors routinely work with local Sheriff’s departments and not-for-profit organizations to rescue animals from substandard facilities.

For more information or to report a substandard facility, contact ACFA at (573) 751-3076.