ST. LOUIS – On Thursday morning, members of the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force removed 22 dogs, including several puppies, from an unlicensed dog breeder in Gasconade County.

The Gasconade County Sheriff’s Office contacted the HSMO after visiting Coonies Coonhounds and seeing animals in deplorable conditions. The sheriff also observed a dead puppy on the property prior to Thursday’s rescue, but the animal’s remains had been removed when the task force searched the area.

The dogs are mostly large-breed coonhound mixes. The puppies range in age from five days old to six months old. Every dog rescued on Thursday was malnourished and suffering from a variety of issues, ranging from open wounds to respiratory problems.

Courtesy: Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task ForceCourtesy: Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Task Force

The task force rescued one dog earlier in the week that was suffering from an ear infection, had old and new wounds, and was severely underweight due to neglect and malnutrition.

“These dogs lived in horrific conditions, and had we not intervened, many more may not have survived,” HSMO President Kathy Warnick said.

The dogs were brought to the Humane Society of Missouri’s headquarters in St. Louis for treatment and care.

A formal custody hearing will take place on June 10. If HSMO is awarded custody, the dogs will be prepared for adoption after receiving a clean bill of health from the veterinarians and assessments from the animal behavior team.

You can visit the HSMO website at to make a donation to support the care of these dogs. HSMO is also asking for donations of blankets, newspapers, dog toys, dog beds, or any items that can facilitate the dogs’ recovery.

For updates on when these dogs will become available for adoption, please check the HSMO website at There is currently no set date for their readiness to find forever homes.

If you encounter an animal in danger or suffering from neglect or abuse, please report it to the authorities or contact the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.