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Attorney General's News Release

February 29, 2012

Attorney General Koster reaches settlement with Ray County dog rescue facility

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said the Ray County Circuit Court has entered a consent judgment against Jenifer Dickson and Donna Palen for violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA).

Koster said Dickson and Palen own Autumn Acres Animal Rescue, an animal rescue facility located in Richmond. Missouri Department of Agriculture inspections in 2011 uncovered numerous violations of the law, including that the defendants:

  • failed to ensure housing facilities used for storing animal food and bedding were free of discarded material and weeds;
  • failed to prevent excessive accumulation of feces and food waste in primary housing enclosures;
  • failed to provide sufficient drinkable water for the animals. Some bowls were empty, some contained dirty, murky water, and some contained debris;
  • failed keep complete records of the animals;
  • failed to provide the animals with shade from the sun or to construct wind and rain breaks.

Koster said that under the terms of the judgment, Dickson and Palen are required to correct the violations found by the state Department of Agriculture and comply with the ACFA at all times in the future. In addition, they are required to pay court costs and a civil penalty.

“We have an obligation to protect the wellbeing of animals, and Missouri has recognized that obligation by passing laws outlining acceptable standards for pet breeders and commercial pet dealers,” Koster said. “This office will continue to see that those laws are enforced.”

Koster, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, has made cracking down on non-compliant facilities a priority in his office.

“The message is clear – Missouri pet breeders take animal welfare seriously and those who don’t will soon find themselves out of business,” said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. “I am proud of the Animal Care team’s efforts and the continued cooperation of the Attorney General in addressing substandard breeders.”

Any violation of the terms of the consent agreement would require Dickson and Palen to surrender their ACFA license and transfer any animals in their facility to the state Department of Agriculture.

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