HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force Rescues 22 Dogs in Gasconade County

May 23, 2024

The morning of May 23, the Humane Society of Missouri’s (HSMO) Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) rescued 22 dogs, including several puppies ranging from 5 days to 6 months old, from Coonies Coonhounds, an unlicensed breeder in Gasconade County, Missouri. The dogs, mostly large-breed Coonhound mixes, were transported to HSMO’s Macklind headquarters in St. Louis to receive health evaluations and emergency veterinary treatment. The sheriff had also witnessed a dead puppy on the property prior to executing today’s warrant, but the remains had been removed prior to today’s rescue.

The emergency rescue was prompted by concern from the Gasconade County Sheriff, and the ACT removed the dogs under a warrant. The team rescued one dog from the same property earlier in the week. The dog had a Body Condition Score (BCS) of one on a scale of one to nine, with one being the lowest. Suffering from an ear infection and wounds both old and new, the dog is severely underweight due to neglect and malnutrition. All of the dogs recovered Thursday are malnourished and experiencing a range of conditions from wounds to respiratory issues.

“These dogs lived in horrific conditions, and had we not intervened, many more may not have survived,” said HSMO President Kathy Warnick. “We are grateful for the alert actions of the Gasconade County Sheriff and their assistance in helping us rescue these animals from such a dangerous and heart-breaking situation. Now that they are safe, community support is critical to ensure these dogs receive the care and treatment they deserve and a new chance for a better life with a loving family.”

Donations to help support the care of these animals can be made on the HSMO website at hsmo.org/rescue. HSMO also is 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. Needed items also are available to purchase directly from Amazon on HSMO’s wish list.

A date for a disposition hearing to determine whether HSMO will assume legal custody of the dogs will take place on June 10, 2024. If awarded custody, HSMO will make the dogs available for adoption after they have been given a clean bill of health by the veterinarians and evaluated by the animal behavior team. As the animals recover – medically and behaviorally – they will be made available for adoption on a case-by-case basis. There is no current timeline for when these dogs will be ready for their forever home, but interested adopters can check the adoption page (updated hourly) to see when they become available.

To report an animal that may be in danger or is suffering from neglect or abuse, call the local police and the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314.647.4400.



On June 10, a disposition was held to determine legal guardianship of 22 Coonhounds that had been temporarily placed in our care. Our Animal Cruelty Task Force retrieved the animals on May 23, acting on a warrant and report of the animals being kept in deplorable conditions. They arrived in a state of emaciation, infested with parasites, and carrying both old and new wounds from fighting. After receiving this evidence of ongoing neglect, the court moved to grant us legal custody of the animals.

Our veterinarians will approve them for adoption on a case-by-case basis, after receiving full health and behavioral evaluations. Until then, we will continue to care for all 22 of them at the same time.


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