TARGET 8: Operation Bark Alert inspection logs revealed
CENTRALIA - According to the Association Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Missouri has more puppy mills than any other state in the country.
In an effort to crack down on unlicensed breeders and shut down puppy mills, the Department of Agriculture created an online complaint reporting system in 2009 called Operation Bark Alert.
In June, KOMU 8 News published all of the Operation Bark Alert complaints for 2014 and mapped them across the state.
Following the original story, a woman reached out saying the department never contacted her about a complaint filed against her in May 2014. Upon learning this, KOMU 8 News wanted to know how or if the complaints are really investigated by the department.
KOMU 8 News requested the logs and email correspondence between the department's investigators to learn the method behind investigating reports.
Prior to receiving the documents requested, KOMU 8 News spoke with the woman who claims she was falsely reported.
"I didn't receive any visits, I didn't receive any mail notifications," animal rescuer Lisa Green said. "I felt disrespected even though they weren't people who knew me. I felt hurt because I've put a lot of my life and time away from my family to do this type of work."
Green said she's been an animal advocate for 15 years and was frustrated to find her name on a list of breeders.
"As an animal advocate what my personal mission is that I work with several organization rescues and do a lot of networking," she said. "When I looked up the report it said breeder name and breeder address which is completely the opposite of what my mission and goal has been."
Our records request indicates that animal health officers do in fact keep extensive digital logs. All of the logs for the past year can be found here.
According to the department's logs, animal health officers followed up on the specific complaint against Green.
In follow-up conversations, Green told KOMU 8 News she did speak with someone from the department but didn't understand that it was in reference to a complaint.