ST. LOUIS — The Humane Society of Missouri rescued 43 hungry dogs and retrieved the bodies of nine deceased dogs from a property in Douglas County, Missouri.
These dogs are Shiba Inus of varying ages and health conditions, and they are currently receiving emergency medical care and health assessments.
The dogs came from a property where the owner was a commercial breeder. Those still alive were found to be starving and suffering from various injuries and health issues. The Douglas County Sheriff issued an order to remove the dogs from the property and temporarily place them under the care of HSMO, leading to their rescue.
“When we walked on the property, my stomach dropped,” said Ella Frank, director of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force. “It was…absolutely horrible. Most of them are emaciated and have a body condition score of one to nine, and one being the lowest.
“We’re learning as the exams are happening, there are a lot of other medical conditions happening with these dogs. When we arrived, all these frail, little skinny dogs were in pens and some of them with deceased. So, they were having to navigate around deceased (dogs).”
A formal custody hearing will be conducted at the Douglas County Court in Ava, Missouri, on Nov. 9 at 9 a.m.
HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) responded to the situation after the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department intervened. Shortly after, at least one of the dogs captured on Oct. 16 died, and ACT was able to recover its remains, along with those of eight other dogs.
An on-site veterinarian from the Missouri Department of Agriculture joined the ACT team to assess the dogs’ health before they were transported to HSMO offices.
At the disposition hearing on Nov. 9, HSMO will seek custody of the dogs. Once in HSMO custody, the dogs will be prepared for adoption after receiving a clean bill of health from the veterinarians and assessments from the animal behavior team.
You can visit the HSMO website at hsmo.org/rescue to make a donation to support the care of these dogs. HSMO is also asking for donations of blankets, newspapers, dog toys, dog beds, or any items that can facilitate the dogs’ recovery.
The animal care experts are thankful for an anonymous tip to law enforcement, but remain shaken up by the conditions the animals were being kept in.
“This one was difficult,” Frank said. “I mean, watching, I don’t have words to describe the conditions of that property and how that these dogs were living. Yeah, it’s hard.”
For updates on when these dogs will become available for adoption, please check the HSMO website at hsmo.org/adopt. There is currently no set date for their readiness to find forever homes.
If you encounter an animal in danger or suffering from neglect or abuse, please report it to the authorities or contact the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.