84 dogs, 17 cats rescued from dangerous hoarding situation in Bates County


UPDATE: January 11, 2018

Late yesterday afternoon, the Humane Society of Missouri received permanent custody of 63 of the 101 animals removed from a property in Bates Count, Mo. on December 20, 2017. The judge in the Circuit Court of Bates County ruled the animals were lawfully impounded and had been abused and/or neglected as defined by Missouri statute. The other 38 dogs and cats were voluntarily surrendered to the Humane Society of Missouri by the owner the day of the rescue.

“These animals had been forced to live in truly squalid conditions, the worst I have encountered in more than 40 years of rescuing animals from abuse and neglect,” said Debbie Hill, HSMO’s vice president of Operations, who was on the scene during the rescue. “We are very grateful we can proceed toward giving them the second chance for a wonderful life they so very much deserve.”

The animals will continue to receive veterinary care, socialization and training; and be groomed, spayed or neutered, and microchipped. Each will be added to the roster of adoptable animals on the HSMO.ORG website as they become available for adoption. The dog and cats are a variety of breeds and range in age from puppies to adults.

“We will continue to work with the Bates County Prosecutor to provide written and photographic evidence and testimony to aid in the prosecution of this case,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “And, we are recommending prosecution to the fullest extent of the law so that no animals will ever suffer like this again.”

December 20, 2017 – Late in the evening, the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) rescued 84 dogs and 17 cats from filthy, unsafe living conditions on a property in Bates County in western Missouri. “These animals were forced to live in truly squalid conditions, the worst I have encountered in more than 40 years of rescuing animals from abuse and neglect,” said Debbie Hill, HSMO’s vice president of Operations.

The majority of the dogs and cats were living inside a waste-filled, trash-strewn, dilapidated small house. Many were in crates with so many layers of feces- and urine-saturated newspaper, the animals had no room to stand. Crates with animals in them were stacked on top of each other; others were outdoors, filled with animal waste and with little-to-no protection from the weather. Some single-dog crates contained two or three dogs. There is no running water on the property, and the majority of the animals didn’t have access to water. The dogs are small, medium and large breeds, ranging in age from nursing puppies to mature, adult dogs; the cats are all adults of mixed breeds.

A concerned citizen contacted the Humane Society of Missouri and the Bates County Sheriff’s Office about living conditions for the animals. Both agencies visited the property but were only allowed to view a few of the animals and were not given access to areas in which the animals were living. Recommendations for proper animal care were given to the owner. Conditions did not improve, and thanks to the quick action of the Bates County Sheriff’s Office, a warrant was obtained to inspect the property and remove animals as necessary. The Sheriff’s office requested HSMO’s assistance in removing, transporting and sheltering the animals. A disposition hearing to determine permanent custody of the animals will be held on January 2, 2018 at the Bates County Court House in Butler, Mo.

In 2011 more than 50 dogs were rescued by HSMO from the same property under a warrant obtained by the Bates County Sheriff’s Office.

“With frigid weather coming very soon, it’s imperative to bring these suffering animals to warmth and safety immediately,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “As is typical in hoarding situations, persons allowed to continue to own animals often continue to collect them. We will provide an extensive report of our findings to the Bates County Prosecutor and recommend prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. The only way to protect animals from these horrific, dangerous conditions in the future is to prevent this person from possessing additional animals.”

The dogs are being transported to Humane Society of Missouri headquarters in St. Louis, Mo. where they will be examined by the Humane Society of Missouri’s shelter veterinary team, cared for by shelter staff and made available for adoption as soon as possible.

HOW TO HELP

To aid in their socialization and recovery, the Humane Society of Missouri is in need of:

  • dog and cat toys
  • long-cut shredded paper
  • newspapers
  • towels, blankets and sheets
  • Make an online donation towards their care » or call 314-951-1542

Donations may be dropped off at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Macklind Ave. Adoption Center, 1201 Macklind Ave., St. Louis, Mo. 63110.