Velma Muessemeyer had her animals confiscated by the St Louis Humane Society and the Franklin County Missouri Sheriff’s Department in November. A judge ordered those animals be returned, and my understanding is that St Louis Humane Society has not yet responded to the judge’s order. Here is an article which repeats an error about a previous seizure of Muessemeyer’s property. It states that 150 sick animals were taken previously. In the original articles regarding the seizure, the animals were not all couched as being sick. Some of them were reported to have respiratory issues, and the writer of the error extrapolated that to all of the animals being “sick”. Kind of like having 150 school kids. A few of them might have sniffles, and therefore they are all “sick”. It makes one wonder about the state of the educational system in Journalism…I guess if I were to follow their trend I’d say that all journalists are unintelligent, which is patently untrue.
Here is an article regarding the most recent order on Muessemeyer’s animals:
FRANKLIN COUNTY • A judge here has ordered that animals taken by the Humane Society from a home near St. Clair — the second such seizure at that property in 3½ years — be returned to their owner, who is charged with animal abuse.
But despite the judge’s order, which was issued last week, the animals have not been returned, said one of the owner’s attorneys.
The 192 rabbits, 25 goats, 10 cats, 21 chickens, four dogs and a duck were taken Nov. 12 from Velma Muessemeyer’s property in the 1300 block of Parkway Drive.
The Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Task Force joined Franklin County sheriff’s deputies who entered the property after obtaining a search warrant. A tipster concerned about conditions on the property alerted authorities.
The animals were living in dirty and dangerous conditions without shelter from the cold, the Humane Society said at the time. Rabbits were kept in raised wire-bottom cages with feces piled inside as well as up to a foot below the cages.
The goats appeared to be suffering from respiratory problems, while the cats and other animals were living in dirty conditions in a home on the property, the Humane Society said.
Muessemeyer, 75, was charged with 21 counts of misdemeanor animal abuse stemming from the treatment of the animals. But Franklin County Associate Circuit Judge David Tobben ordered on Dec. 19 that the animals be returned to Muessemeyer. In his order, he said that evidence showed some of the animals were underweight and ill but that there was no evidence the vast majority of the animals were in danger.
“If the issue were the propriety of taking children into custody based on the condition of the property, there is no question in the court’s mind that the condition of the property, especially the house, justifies such action,” Tobben wrote. “The issue is not neglect of children however, it is neglect of animals.”
Taylor Goodale, an attorney from Union who is representing Muessemeyer, said Friday that she had done nothing wrong and that taking the animals was a violation of her property rights. He also said she had been raising animals for about 60 years.
The property is the same one where more than 150 sick rabbits and other animals were seized in February 2010. Franklin County prosecutors made an agreement not to charge the property owner if she agreed not to have any animals other than her two pet dogs, some goats and rabbits. That probation ended in February 2012.
The Humane Society said it had filed suit to retain the animals.
“The care and protection of these animals is the main priority of the Humane Society of Missouri, and we will pursue all lawful means to gain permanent legal custody to ensure their welfare,” the organization said in a statement.
Efforts to reach Bob Parks, the Franklin County prosecutor, were not immediately successful.