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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

Dogs 'desperately' needing care rescued; 100 missing

Nearly 120 dogs living in squalid conditions and "desperately" needing health care have been rescued from a breeding operation in Northwestern Missouri, but about another 100 removed before the seizure are missing and a reward is being offered for their return.

The dogs - mostly Yorkshire Terrier, Pekingese, Chihuahua, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher and Miniature Poodle breeds - were found living in their own waste in a house near Winston, according to the Humane Society of Missouri.

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"We are very relieved these animals are no longer in jeopardy and can now receive the care we believe they desperately need,” Tim Rickey, the organization's director of the Animal Cruelty Task Force, states on the Humane Society of Missouri's web site.

Daviess County Sheriff's Department authorities were called to the house after receiving a report about a chimpanzee that had broken out of its cage. A deputy shot and killed the animal after it attacked him. While at the home, the deputy smelled a strong odor and noticed that the dogs were living in filthy conditions.

Law enforcement authorities returned to the home the following day with a search warrant to remove the dogs, but the homeowner had apparently given many of the dogs to other breeders in the area, according to Rickey. Some dogs have been recovered, but many are still missing.

"We're working with several other parties and leads," Rickey said. "Anyone with information should contact us. We think there are 100 more animals."

The Humane Society of Missouri is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the dogs' recovery, Jeane Jae, the organization's director of communications, told Love of Dogs.

Jae says humane society officials are hopeful the rescued dogs can be rehabilitated and placed into homes. "Our goal is to be able to give second chances for a good home to all animals we receive," she said. "These animals will be examined by our veterinarians and behavior specialists to determine their adoptability."

Shortly after the rescue, the pets received vaccinations, were dewormed, and had their nail trimmed and ears cleaned.

The Missouri Humane Society has been involved in several raids in the past year. Jae attributes the jump in rescue activity to more public awareness of the problem as opposed to an increase in substandard breeders.

"Due to local and national media attention and the good relationship we have built with law enforcement throughout the state of Missouri, heightened awareness of the deplorable conditions breeding animals are forced to endure at these substandard facilities has increased the number of reports we are receiving," Jae said.

However, Missouri does have a large number of substandard breeders, Jae said, which keeps animal welfare agencies busy. "We hope that greater public awareness and rigorous enforcement of existing state statutes will someday end this problem," she said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has announced a new effort - Operation Bark Alert - to crack down on unlicensed pet breeding facilities. The initiative allows people to report to the Missouri Agriculture Department the locations of suspected unlawful and unlicensed breeders. The state agriculture department has set up a new web site so people can write in their reports of suspected abusive animal-breeding operations.

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Visit the Humane Society of Missouri's web site at for adoption information or how to make donations to help the rescued pets. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the missing dogs should call the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Abuse hot line at 314-647-4400.

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