Missouri recently enacted a tough, new animal-cruelty law and officials have been busy enforcing it. The state this week brought action against a Richmond, Mo., dog breeder under the terms of the new law.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, filed a lawsuit against Jeannine Julian for violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act and the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act.
Koster said Julian owns JJ Kennel, a commercial breeder. Missouri Department of Agriculture inspections allegedly uncovered numerous violations of the law, including that Julian:
- repeatedly refused to allow Department of Agriculture inspections of her breeding facility;
- failed to provide adequate veterinary care to animals who were in obvious medical distress;
- failed to provide housing that protected the animals from injury;
- failed to ensure that interior surfaces were free of excessive rust and that kennel doors were properly maintained;
- failed to maintain adequate lighting, leaving some dogs in complete darkness;
- failed to prevent excessive accumulation of feces and food waste in the primary housing enclosures and to provide uncontaminated, wholesome food to the dogs;
- failed to have adequate employees to carry out the required level of husbandry practices, resulting in excessive feces throughout the outdoor runs; and
- failed to pay a $100 reinspection fee required in the case of repeat violations of the ACFA.
Koster is asking the court to issue injunctions and a temporary restraining order prohibiting Julian from any further violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act or the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act and from conducting any commercial breeding activity until further order of the court; assess a $100 ACFA license reinspection fee; assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation of the Animal Care Facilities Act; and pay court costs.
The lawsuit marks the third case in which the state has enforced the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act, sometimes called the Missouri Solution, which was approved by the Missouri legislature and signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon on April 27, 2011.
The Act, the result of an agreement between the Missouri Department of Agriculture, commercial dog breeding and farming interests, and Missouri-based animal welfare organizations, strengthens standards for veterinary care and living conditions for dogs in commercial breeding facilities.
The Act also gives the Attorney General’s Office the authority to file criminal charges for “canine cruelty,” the authority to seek civil penalties for offenders, and to seek enhanced penalties for repeat offenders.