ST. LOUIS — The Humane Society of Missouri's Animal Cruelty Task Force recovered 22 animals from three rescue operations on Thursday.
The operations were carried out as dangerous heat bakes Missouri, with several of the animals they rescued suffering from the hot temperatures, HSMO said.
Two of the rescues happened in Sedalia in Pettis County. The Animal Cruelty Task Force assisted the Pettis County Sherriff's Office in carrying out authorized warrants.
In the first case, five dogs were rescued in various conditions, and one of the dogs was emaciated with visible ribs and anemic symptoms.
"It was immediately evident that these dogs had been victims of severe neglect and were dangerously undernourished," HSMO said.
In the second Sedalia rescue, the task force rescued eight dogs and eight cats from a home and its surrounding property. The residents had been recently arrested on suspicion of animal neglect.
The home was "a horrendously unsafe and unsanitary environment" and the dogs were "filthy and underweight," HSMO said. Six of the cats were in a mobile home with no ventilation and dangerously hot temperatures.
"The cats were heat-stressed, filthy, and flea-bitten, with some of them suffering severe facial and optical injuries. Four of the younger kittens had to have fluids administered and investigators noted it was doubtful the kittens would have survived much longer in that environment," HSMO said.
The third operation took place in New Madrid County, with an Animal Cruelty Task Force officer working with the New Madrid County Sheriff's Office to rescue one emaciated dog from inhumane conditions on a neglectful owner's property, HSMO said.
All of the animals were brought to HSMO's St. Louis City Headquarters for veterinary care and rehabilitation.
A disposition hearing for the New Madrid case is set for July 11 and the two Pettis County cases will be scheduled within the next 30 days. HSMO said it hopes to be granted custody of the animals in the hearings, at which point the animals will be placed up for adoption after recuperating.
“The appalling conditions that these poor animals endured, especially in this oppressive heat, are deplorable and inexcusable,” said HSMO President Kathy Warnick in a news release. “The welfare and rehabilitation of animals in need continues to be our top priority and we’re extremely thankful for our partnerships with local law enforcement that allow us to give animals like these a second chance at a brighter future.”
HSMO shared the below video, which showed moments from Thursday's rescue operations, including task force members rescuing dogs chained up in the heat and taking young kittens from the mobile home.
Editor's note: Some viewers may find the video upsetting.
To support the recovery of the animals, go to hsmo.org/rescue.
Anyone who knows of an animal who may be in danger or is suffering from neglect and abuse can report it to their local police department and the Humane Society of Missouri's Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.