40 animals rescued near Vienna

Dozens of farm and pet animals were found by authorities with no food or water.

Dozens of farm and pet animals were found by authorities with no food or water. Courtesy/Maries County Sheriff’s Office

Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said Thursday he expects “criminal charges to be filed by the Maries County Prosecutor in the near future” after 40 animals were rescued from a residence near Vienna.

Maries County Sheriff’s deputies joined with representative of the state Agriculture Department and the Humane Society of Missouri on Thursday to serve a search warrant at a residence north of Vienna’s city limits, along U.S. 63, after getting a report of animal abuse and neglect.

While inspecting the property, Heitman said, deputies observed several animals that appeared to be malnourished and without food and water, including some dogs, goats, pigs, cows and horses.

Remains of at least six horses also were found, along with numerous cow and pig remains.

Heitman wouldn’t identify the property owner “until criminal charges have been filed.”

In a news release, the sheriff said: “I am very thankful for the resources provided by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, and the Missouri Humane Society.

“Without them, we would not have been able to rescue as many animals as we did.”

The Humane Society also issued a news release, saying: “Many of the animals are severely underweight and have had little access to food, fresh water, adequate shelter or veterinary care.

“The water that was available to the dogs was contaminated with urine and feces.”

The Humane Society said the rescued horses and goats were taken to the society’s “Longmeadow Rescue Ranch” in Union, while the rescued rabbits and dogs were taken to the Humane Society’s St. Louis headquarters near Forest Park.

But some of the goats, pigs, sheep and cattle remained on the property.

And both Heitman and the Humane Society noted the property owner will be in a Maries County courtroom at 11 a.m. Tuesday to determine custody of the animals.

The Humane Society said if it gets awarded custody during Tuesday’s hearing, “As many of the animals as possible will be made available for adoption.”

The Humane Society also said the Agriculture Department has recommended appropriate care of the animals to the owner, and the society said it will continue working with the department and the sheriff to follow up on the recommendations.”

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