Mid-Missouri Sees Alarming Month of Animal Cruelty

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MORGAN COUNTY - The first of two alarming animal cruelty cases started exactly one month ago Wednesday, marking the beginning of a month-long spate of incidents involving animals. On September 10th, the Morgan County Sheriff's Department received a call about two cats shot by arrows. The department arrested a Versailles-area man, Bryan Brewer, on September 18th for the shooting. The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) took the male cats, Patches and Licorice, to its headquarters in St. Louis. HSMO initially offered a $2,500 reward for the shooter. The reward is currently pending, Morgan County Sheriff Jim Petty told KOMU 8 News Wednesday.

On September 27, just two weeks after Brewer's arrest, HSMO, the Maries County Sheriff's Department and animal investigators from the Missouri Department of Agriculture searched a farm located on Highway 63, north of Vienna. Officers seized 40 animals from George Davis's farm. Sheriff Chris Heitman said there were more than 100 animals on the property, but the officers could not seize all of them at the time of the search.

Officers seized 24 dogs, 11 horse, four rabbits and one goat. HSMO took the horses and goat to its Longmeadow Rescue Ranch located in Union, but the rest went to the St. Louis location.

"I wish we had gotten there sooner, because it looked like some of the animals had just recently perished," Heitman said. 

Debbie Hill of HSMO said the conditions of the farm were unsuitable for the animals' health. According to Hill, many animals were very malnourished and some had medical problems that needed to be addressed.

"The ground was completely barren. I mean I'm talking dirt and rocks. Some of the animals were even stripping bark off the trees," Hill said. 

Mabel, one of the rescued dogs currently living at HSMO, is missing an ear. Hill said this an old injury and Davis told HSMO and officers that Mabel had the injury before he owned her. HSMO also rescued a female beagle along with her new litter of puppies.

Prosecutors charged Davis with two misdemeanors of animal abuse and wrongful disposal of dead animals.

And prosecutors charged Brewer with two felony counts of animal cruelty.

Patches was in danger of losing left leg, but Hill said his current condition is encouraging. Both cats have become more sociable and accustomed to human interaction during their recoveries. HSMO will keep custody of the cats and animals from Maries County. Hill said she expects the animals to be ready for adoption in the near future.

HSMO has four locations statewide and an animal cruelty task force. The force includes 15 officers who respond to roughly 18,000 cases per year. HSMO said it handles more than 25,000 animals every year and 3,000 to 5,000 of them are brought in by the task force.

Click here to report a lost or found pet or to look for your lost pet. To report animal abuse call HSMO's animal cruelty hotline at (314) 647-4400 where you can remain anonymous.