HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force Rescues 42 Dogs and Puppies from Substandard Puppy Mill

December 7, 2021

On Dec. 6, 2021, the Humane Society of Missouri’s (HSMO) Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) conducted a rescue of 42 dogs, including many puppies as young as a few days old, from one of the worst breeders in the country, targeted repeatedly by federal and state authorities. Cedarcrest Kennel has been featured in national media as an example of why Missouri consistently ranks as the worst state in the country for sub-standard puppy mills. The rescue was coordinated in conjunction with local authorities.

Cedarcrest Kennel in Douglas County, Missouri, operated by Marilyn Shepherd, has a long history of being a sub-standard breeder, including being featured on the national “Horrible 100” list that ranks the worst dog breeders in the country. Cedarcrest has been target of multiple violations from the Missouri Department of Agriculture and multiple lawsuits from the Missouri Attorney General going back nearly 25 years.

Today, Ms. Shephard officially has had her latest license, a “hobby or show” breeder license, permanently revoked for a violation of a consent agreement put in place last year by the Missouri Attorney General’s office.

On July 16, 2020, Missouri Attorney General, Eric Schmitt, announced a temporary restraining order (TRO) without notice against Cedarcrest Kennel and its owner Marilyn Shepard for continuing violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA), including operating without a ACFA license.

The lawsuit was originally filed against Ms. Shepard in 2019. Ms. Shepard has since refused to comply with all requirements to renew her license and continues to violate the Animal Care Facilities Act, including breeding and selling dogs.

The dogs rescued include Irish Terriers, Schnauzers, Cairn Terriers, and other breeds. The ages and conditions of the dogs differ greatly.

“This is an egregious case involving one of the most horrific breeders. Cedarcrest has continually violated MDA’s requirements, and the dogs she has bred have suffered terribly because of her negligence,” said HSMO President Kathy Warnick. “She may be one of the worst we’ve dealt with in terms of caring for well-being of the animals in her possession, not to mention the ongoing blatant disregard for federal and state laws. The dogs and their pups now have a chance to finally live a normal life instead of being forced to produce litter after litter of puppies for profit.”

To help support the care of these dogs and puppies, you can donate at on their website hsmo.org or by clicking here.

To report an animal who 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.

About the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force

The Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) is one of the largest animal rescue/disaster response teams in the United States. For more than 40 years, ACT has worked side by side with state, local and city law enforcement officials to investigate and help prosecute animal abusers.

Annually, Humane Society of Missouri’s 15 field-tested, professional animal cruelty investigators and staff:

  • Travel more than 350,000 miles
  • Make more than 10,000 responses to reports of abuse/neglect
  • Aid more than 20,000 animals

Humane Society of Missouri’s animal cruelty investigators understand the nuances of animal abuse law and the criminal justice process for documenting and filing evidence and work directly with sheriff’s offices, police departments and prosecuting attorneys to help ensure animal cases are handled in an expedient and professional manner. Humane Society of Missouri investigators also provide expert testimony in legal cases and before legislative bodies and provide consultation and training workshops for law enforcement, state agencies and local animal care and control workers.

Together, they work to hold people accountable for the abuse and neglect of animals in the St. Louis Metropolitan region and all of Missouri.

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