Ten Dogs Rescued from Missouri Pound

A dog at the Steelville pound in a photo from 2013 on Facebook.
A dog at the Steelville pound in a photo from 2013 on Facebook.

The city of Steelville, MO has closed its pound.  Ten dogs, one of them pregnant, were rescued from the pound by a group called Wayside Waifs yesterday:

Staff at Wayside Waifs said they were contacted by the Steelville shelter last week. Underfunded and lacking the ability to care for its animals, the shelter asked Wayside to take its current animals and give its leadership a chance to regroup.

The leadership?  That would be the police department.

Image via Facebook.
Image via Facebook.

The leadership has apparently been neglecting the animals at the pound for a very long time. Rescuers found the dogs standing in their own waste in pens without any beds, blankets or toys. One dog’s collar was embedded in his skin. The dogs have reportedly been living at the pound for at least a year.

The facility was shut down due to sanitary and structural issues. A renovation project at the shelter will start next week. It’s not clear whether the shelter will face sanctions.

Let me guess – the police department will investigate itself in the matter?  And the same legal standards will be rigorously applied to the actions of those who left these dogs to suffer as would be applied to a private citizen?  Oh let’s just fast forward and get to the no charges/no indictment part.  But yeah, renovations to the building will fix everything totally.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

12 thoughts on “Ten Dogs Rescued from Missouri Pound

  1. In Missouri, state Department of Agriculture inspectors inspect all animal housing facilities including puppy mills, animal shelters and rescues. One of the very good things that has come out of the puppy mill issues here is that the state has upped enforcement across the board.

    My guess, and I don’t know for sure, is that the state has cited them for repeat violations and that the state will be the ones doing the investigating.

    1. “My guess, and I don’t know for sure, is that the state has cited them for repeat violations and that the state will be the ones doing the investigating.”

      If the state inspectors have seen these dogs living in these horrific conditions for over a year and haven’t done anything more than issue citations, I don’t have much faith that anything would come of the investigation. This Animal Care Program sounds great based on what I’m reading on the website ( http://agriculture.mo.gov/animals/ACFA/ ), and they may have the best of intentions, but if these dogs were left to rot in that pound for a year, there’s clearly a problem with their processes.

      1. Sarah, make no mistake, the State Department is a compliance agency — so their goal is to get shelters/mills into compliance, not shut them down per se. Many years ago, the state passed a law, that among other things, puts a lot of restrictions on the types of things the state can enforce on municipal government entities — and so they don’t have free reign here. I’m sure we could all have a good discussion over how much power/authority is the right amount, but I was just at least letting people know that the further inspection would not be solely done by an inside authority.

        I’ll also note that there were 14 dogs taken from the shelter and by all accounts and video, most of them are pretty healthy — including four puppies who would be highly prone to illness. None of us have seen the inside of that shelter, and I do think we should all cognizant to not jump to the word “horrific” based solely on a media report — especially when the media outlets never visited the shelter in question.

      2. Obviously the *goal* should be to get them into compliance, but how long do they give facilities to get into compliance before shutting them down? And yes, I understand what your point was, but if that “outside authority” has very little authority (and is possibly understaffed and may have some process issues) then what’s going to come of it?

        There was a dog in a “shelter” with an embedded collar who was apparently receiving no treatment for it while in that “shelter.” That is horrific. It is not “pretty healthy” and it’s clear that the system failed this dog. If the reports of the dogs standing in their own waste and having no beds or blankets are correct, then the system failed all of those dogs as well, even if they had no lasting health consequences from it.

        I don’t know if I’ve been clear about this, but my point here isn’t necessarily to place any blame on the State Dept. and their Animal Care Program staff. They may be underfunded, they may be understaffed, they may have some process/logistics issues to work out. But the bottom line is that they are part of the system and the system doesn’t seem to be working very well.

      3. It’s definitely an imperfect system. And I’ll especially note that the state agency’s goal is to be sure the laws are followed for animal care (which they clearly weren’t here) — they do not care if animals are saved. ie, if the shelter had “humanely euthanized” all of the animals, they would have been in compliance with the state laws. For that matter, they could have put them in a gas chamber and been in compliance.

        I’m not defending the system, it’s broken. I’m just noting that it would not be an internal investigation. And also noting that while it’s easy to jump to a lot of conclusions from a media story, there is always a lot to the story that isn’t covered…and neither you, nor I, or in this case, the media outlets witnessed the conditions.

      4. Yep, and that’s the other big problem with animal welfare in the US. Not only does nothing to very little usually happen when the laws are broken, the laws aren’t good enough in the first place (that’s why we need CAPA.)

  2. How? How does this keep happening? And why is the police department tolerating this among their own?

    A full audit of their records is needed along with a criminal investigation. But yeah, not gonna happen.

  3. From what I am reading here it is a shame,
    if the police department was in charge of this shelter and dogs were abuse and neglect it
    the department should be prosecuted. They should be representing the law .. they didn’t do their job ! That a shame !

  4. The group that rescued the dogs, Wayside Waifs, has some info and photos posted on its website:

    After a four hour journey back to Wayside, the dogs and puppies received their first vaccinations, warm beds and food. They are being medically evaluated by Wayside’s veterinarians, as several of the dogs have symptoms of upper respiratory illness. They are also covered in fleas and dirt. One of the dogs, named Bull, was also found to have open wounds around his neck from an embedded collar.

    The Steelville pound looks like a windowless cinderblock structure. Horrifying to think of dogs living there for “at least a year”.

  5. The funds are there in every instance sited of a municipal AC. They are also there in every instance not sited.

    The decision how to spend taxpayer money is with the elected officials. They cry foul and poor all the time while paying exhorbitant fees to consultants and pet projects to benefit their cronies. Look at CAFR.
    A real slight of hand accounting used by these sleeve balls while services to citizens get cut and underfunded. Money is not the issue -ever.

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