43 Starving Shiba Inus Rescued from Douglas County

October 19, 2023

Acting on a request from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, the Humane Society of Missouri’s (HSMO) Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) – one of the nation’s largest animal-rescue and disaster-response teams – conducted a rescue of 43 starving dogs from the property of a former commercial breeder in Douglas County, Missouri. The living animals were severely emaciated and suffering from various injuries and health conditions, and the remains of nine deceased dogs were also found on the property and recovered.

The rescue took place after a warrant was served by the Douglas County Sheriff to remove the dogs and give temporary custody to HSMO. A disposition hearing to determine legal custody will take place at 9 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Douglas County Court in Ava, Missouri.

Upon receiving the request – which included photos of sick and extremely emaciated dogs – HSMO worked quickly to round up and remove the animals. At least one of the dogs photographed on Monday died shortly thereafter and its remains, along with those of eight others, were recovered by ACT. The ACT team was joined onsite by a staff veterinarian from the Missouri Department of Agriculture to view the condition of the dogs prior to their transport back to HSMO headquarters.

“We’re grateful to the Animal Health Division staff at the Missouri Department of Agriculture for lending assistance with this horrific and heart-wrenching rescue,” said HSMO President Kathy Warnick. “The conditions at this property amount to one of the worst cases of animal neglect we’ve seen this year. The caring citizen who tipped off the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department undoubtedly saved the lives of many of these innocent dogs and gave them a second chance at life. We’ll do everything in our power to ensure these sweet animals receive the care they need to fully recover and find loving forever homes.”

The rescued animals include 43 Shiba Inus of various ages and conditions. All of the animals are currently receiving emergency veterinary treatment and health evaluations.

Donations to help support the care of these dogs can be made by clicking here.


To help care for the animals, HSMO is also asking the public for assistance through donations of blankets, newspapers, dog toys, dog beds or anything else that can make these animals’ recovery more comfortable. Click here for our Amazon wish list.

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