Fifty-five dogs were seized Tuesday by members of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force from an undisclosed Franklin County residence. The dogs had been without care since at least Sunday.
“The dogs, mostly basset hounds, were in varying stages of nutrition and filth,” the release said, adding that many of the dogs were being kept in crates, sitting in their own urine and feces.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture was able to provide on-site veterinary care to the animals following the humane society taking custody of the dogs.
The seizure of the 55 animals was initiated a month ago when the humane society’s task force fielded a complaint from an undisclosed source. The complaint was then forwarded to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, which oversees commercial dog breeders in the state.
According to a press release from the Humane Society of Missouri, which is based in St. Louis and is not affiliated with the Franklin County Humane Society, the seizure came at the request of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re extremely grateful to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for contacting us and for their efforts to rescue these animals,” said Debbie Hill, Vice President of operations at HSMO. “We are happy to know that these animals will not have to suffer another minute in worsening conditions.”
Officials had attempted to do an on-site inspection of the dog-breeding facility last week, but the owner did not provide consent, according to the release. The owner of the property, who appeared to be operating an animal breeding facility, was arrested last week on an Iowa warrant for a fraud charge.
Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton later identified the property owner as Michael Johnson, 28, St. Clair.
A court hearing for Johnson has been scheduled for October 23, according to the humane society.
Officials with the humane society, which is providing care to the canines, said it is unknown when or if any of the rescued animals might be available for adoption due to the “ongoing investigation” into the dog breeder involving several jurisdictions.
For more information about adopting other animals cared for by the Humane Society, visit hsmo.org/adopt to determine availability.