For the second time in three years, the Missouri Humane Society has rescued a large number of animals from a woman’s property near St. Clair.
Tuesday morning, members of the society’s Animal Cruelty Task Force and Franklin County deputies removed over 200 animals from the property of Velma Muessemeyer off of Parkway Drive in the Village of Parkway, just east of the St. Clair city limits.
A concerned citizen alerted the humane society about the situation which then contacted Franklin County authorities who conducted an investigation that led to a warrant ordering removal of the animals.
The rescued animals included more than 140 domestic rabbits, 25 goats, 20 cats, 10 chickens, two dogs and a duck.
All of the animals were living in filthy conditions, according to a humane society press release.
The rabbits were housed in raised wire-bottom cages with feces piled in the cages as well as more than a foot under the cages. Many of the cages were encrusted with dirt and hair and have little to no shelter from the weather. Most cages held multiple rabbits, as many as 10 rabbits were crammed in each of several cages, the release stated.
Water for many of the animals was frozen, dirty and contaminated with feces. The goats appeared to be suffering from an upper respiratory illness. The cats and other animals which were inside a home on the property also were living in extremely filthy conditions. The animals have received little to no veterinary care, the society press release stated.
In 2010, 158 rabbits, dogs, cats, goats, and fowl were rescued from Muessemeyer’s property.
In a stipulated agreement with the Franklin County prosecutor, the owner agreed that for a period of two years she would not acquire more animals than her two dogs, goats left on the property and 20 new rabbits. That period ended in February 2012.
The rescued rabbits, dogs, and cats will be taken to the Humane Society of Missouri’s headquarters shelter in St. Louis City for triage and care. The goats, chickens, and duck will be taken to the Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch west of Union.
A disposition hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Franklin County Courthouse in Union. Until that hearing, the humane society will have custody of the animals.
If full custody of the animals is awarded to the Humane Society of Missouri, as many of them as possible will be made available for adoption.