June 21, 2024

55 Starving Dogs Rescued, 15 Found Dead at Missouri Property: Sheriff

Two people are facing dozens of charges each after authorities rescued 55 “starving and freezing” dogs and puppies from a Missouri property where the remains of 15 deceased canines were discovered, according to the local sheriff’s office.

John Griffiths, 34, of Galena, Missouri, and 30-year-old Jessica Jean Johnson, were arrested and each face 28 counts of animal abuse, the Stone County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) said in a statement on Friday.

“Concerned residents” called the sheriff’s office on January 19 to report animal abuse and neglect at a residence on Camp Clark Hill Road in Galena, Missouri, leading to the emergency rescue of “severely malnourished” dogs and puppies.

“When the deputy arrived at the residence, there were multiple animals in distress,” SCSO said in a statement. “Approximately 55 dogs were in pens, tied to trees or tied to shelters. Most of these dogs had no access to food or water. Upon closer inspection, they located multiple animals, which were deceased and were still in their shelter, on a chain next to a tree or located in a burn pile.”

55 Dogs Rescued from Missouri Property
Two people are facing dozens of charges after authorities rescued 55 “starving and freezing” dogs and puppies from a Missouri property where 15 other dogs were found dead last week, according to the local sheriff’s…

Humane Society of Missouri

The sheriff’s office contacted the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO), located more than 250 miles away in St. Louis, to request assistance from the shelter’s rescue division.

HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force responded to the scene where they seized a total of 55 dogs who received immediate care from technicians and veterinarians on site before being transported back to St Louis.

In addition to the remains of 15 dogs, the task force also found other dead animals on the Stone County property, including five goats, a cat and two birds. HSMO said staff was unable to determine whether the animals died of starvation or froze to death.

Newsweek reached out via email and Facebook on Saturday night to HSMO and SCSO for comment and an update on the pups. It was unclear at the time of publication whether Griffiths and Johnson had retained attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

On Friday, the Greene County Fugitive Task Force located and arrested Johnson in Greene County in connection with the animal abuse case, SCSO said. She is currently being held on a $10,000 bond in the Stone County Jail.

Griffiths was arrested at the scene the day the dogs were rescued, the sheriff’s office said, adding that he has since posted bond and has been released from jail. It was unclear if Griffiths and Johnson lived at the Galena property where the dogs were found.

Missouri Pair Arrested for Animal Cruelty
John Griffiths (left), 34, of Galena, Missouri, and 30-year-old Jessica Jean Johnson (right), were arrested after authorities rescued 55 dogs and puppies and found 15 dead. Griffiths and Johnson each face 28 counts of animal…

Stone County Sheriff’s Office

The surviving dogs and puppies are being cared for at HSMO where they are “safe and warm,” shelter staff posted on Facebook, adding that “brighter times are ahead for these sweet faces.”

“When the truck pulled into the parking lot after midnight we were waiting with warm beds, food, and water,” HSMO said, describing the night of the rescue. “As they were unloaded each dog rushed to their food and water bowls and then immediately curled up to sleep. They knew they were warm and safe. There were so many grateful faces. Each pup leaned into us and seemed to say ‘Thank You.'”

The Human Society said just 10 days before the emergency rescue in Stone County, staff rescued 97 Labrador Retrievers from an unlicensed breeder in Phelps County, saying that the shelter is “really needing all the support we can get.”

“The best way to help these pups is to please adopt,” HSMO said. “We have so many wonderful dogs who are waiting for their forever homes. When you adopt, you free up a kennel for another pup who needs it just as badly. If you can’t adopt, please share and spread the word.”