MARSHFIELD, Mo. -- A woman and her son from the Seymour area are accused of mistreating as many as 71 dogs and one rabbit at their home. The Webster County prosecuting attorney charged Donna West, 62, and Brady West, 34, on Wednesday with 10 misdemeanor counts each of animal abuse.
A spokeswoman for the Humane Society of Missouri, Jean Jay, says its staff and volunteers took custody of 70 dogs and one rabbit last week at the Wests' property at 155 Kleier Loop. One of the dogs later died. In a court hearing on Wednesday, Jay says, a judge sent 34 dogs and the rabbit to the Carthage Humane Society and 35 dogs to the Humane Society of Missouri, which has a care facility in St. Louis.
Jay says the dogs and rabbit won’t be available for adoption for some time. They’ll have to be evaluated and nursed back to good health. The dogs are several breeds, including poodles and Labrador mixes. She says the animals were divided up so each agency wouldn’t have to take on the burden of caring for all of the animals.
To read the charges and probable cause statement against Donna West, click here. (They're identical to the charges and probable cause statement against Brady West.)
In his probable cause statement, Humane Society investigator Jeff McRoy says he and a Webster County sheriff’s deputy went to the Wests' property on June 10. McRoy says he could see dogs that “had no obvious access to fresh wholesome foods or clean water. It was obvious by the large amount of decaying feces under and inside the animal cages with the dogs, that the living conditions were not conducive to the health of the animals.”
McRoy said he and the deputy interviewed the Wests, who “admitted that they had not cleaned the animal housing facility for at least a month and the only food they provide for the dogs on this property, and in their custody, was bones and meat scraps from Gibson Meat Packing in Seymour.”
McRoy also said the Wests admitted they breed and sell dogs from their property but don't have a breeder’s license from the Missouri Department of Agriculture. He also wrote that Donna West said she can’t get proper veterinary car because she doesn’t have enough money and owes money to “all the local veterinarians.” McRoy also said Brady West said “he had shot nine of the dogs on this property and buried them because he could not care for them any more.”
The probable cause statement mentions 82 animals. Jay says that was a preliminary estimate and the actual number was 72.
If the Wests are convicted, they could receive fines up to $1,000 and/or county jail sentences of up to 1 year for each of the 10 counts of animal abuse.