Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt spoke only to Fox 2 about his action to protect hundreds of animals.
“The conditions for the animals that are in there are disgusting and really was the impetus for us to take legal action to ultimately shut them down,” said Eric Schmitt, Missouri Attorney General.
Schmitt’s office along with the Missouri Department of Agriculture served Cornerstone Farms today with notice to shut down.
“In this instance there’s feces, dogs are living in really terrible conditions. The conditions of the animals themselves have deteriorated, so when we see that – we’re going to shut ‘em down,” said Schmitt.
FOX 2 exposed the breeder in 2016. Cornerstone Farms is located about two hours northwest of St. Louis, in Curryville near Bowling Green.
It’s operated by Debra Ritter, whose family surrounded us in 2016 when we first reported on Cornerstone Farms’ violations.
Chris Hayes asked, “Do you let them out of their cages?”
Ritter responded, “Yes! Yes, look at all of these children sir (motioning to her children behind her). They`re our babies. Look at all of these kids. We show our dogs. That`s when they get a lot of the exercise you`re asking about. And our pens are all 3-5 times bigger than the state requires.”
Attorney General Schmitt says Missouri agriculture inspectors have documented a different story. He said the breeder was “…attempting to thwart the inspection efforts over the years, but it’s gotten to the point now where we’ve taken action.”
Today, Missouri’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit barring Cornerstone Farms from selling dogs. The Missouri Department of Agriculture is doing an inventory of animals in preparation for a hearing in Bowling Green next week about the next possible action. The State will be asking the Judge to allow it to seize animals. Stay tuned to the FOX Files for the latest.