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Four dogs rescued in St. Francois County after photo of injured dog goes viral

Three people were cited for misdemeanor animal abuse. An expert says this kind of abuse would have started months ago.

Editor's note: Images in the story below may be upsetting.

ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, Mo. — Four dogs are safely in the care of Stray Rescue after their owners were booked on animal abuse charges.

A 6-year-old husky named Songaa went viral after a woman, who asked to remain anonymous, posted a picture of the dog tied up behind a home in Lake Hannah.

“He had two ties on him and I could just tell his face was broken,” said the anonymous woman.  “I screamed.”

Songaa is getting medical treatment at Stray Rescue after an incredible journey.

“He’s amazing,” said Donna Lochmann of Stray Rescue.  “He loves to be around people.  He’ll cuddle up in your lap.  He’s just kind of sort of starved for attention.”

St. Francois County Sheriff’s Deputies on three separate shifts were sent to investigate allegations of animal abuse, but the people inside the home where Songaa lived told them the dog had been euthanized.

“Why nothing was done was beyond us,” said Lochmann.

However, late Tuesday evening Songaa turned up more than 35 miles away from his Lake Hanna home at Council Bluff Lake where he was found lying on a boat dock clinging to life.

“For a dog to get in that kind of condition, it would have taken months,” said Lochmann.  “You would have seen evidence of something happening months ago.”

Credit: Stray Rescue of St. Louis

Believing the dog had been dumped, deputies booked and released 59-year-old Richard Sikes Sr., 36-year-old Richard Sikes Jr., and 58-year-old Denise Sikes on animal abuse charges.

Credit: St. Francois County
59-year-old Richard Sikes Sr., 36-year-old Richard Sikes Jr., and 58-year-old Denise Sikes

“It’s a felony in the state of Missouri to beat, neglect, injure, or abuse a dog,” said the anonymous woman.  “That’s the state law.”

No formal charges have been filed at this time, but three more dogs were removed from the home while authorities continue their investigation.

“They’re going to get the help, medical care, and love that they deserve,” said the unidentified woman.

As for Songaa, Stray Rescue is still waiting on the result of a biopsy to determine the nature his wounds, but it’s believed that he has cancer in his jaw.

“We want to do absolutely everything we can for him and give him a chance at, if it’s a short life, but a good life that’s what we want to offer him,” said Lochmann.  “We will absolutely do whatever we can medically for him.”

A spokesperson for Stray Rescue told me they are currently overwhelmed with animal abuse cases. 

Stray Rescue is raising money to cover some of the vet costs for dogs like Songaa click here. 

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