Koster resolves suit against animal rescue

Bryan Cohen Mar. 1, 2012, 12:49pm


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced a consent judgment on Wednesday against Donna Palen and Jenifer Dickson for alleged violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act.

Palen and Dickson own Autumn Acres Animal Rescue, an animal rescue facility in Richmond in Ray County. Inspections by the Missouri Department of Agriculture in 2011 allegedly uncovered multiple violations of the law at the facility.

The defendants allegedly failed to provide the animals with shade from the sun or to construct rain and wind breaks, failed to keep complete records of the animals, failed to provide enough drinkable water for the animals, failed to prevent excessive accumulation of food waste and feces in primary housing enclosures, and failed to make sure that housing facilities used for storing animal bedding and food were free of weeds and discarded material. The inspection allegedly revealed that some animals had empty bowls and that some bowls were filled with debris and dirty, murky water.

Under the terms of the judgment, Palen and Dickson must correct the violations found by the department and comply with the ACFA in the future. The defendants must also pay a civil penalty and court costs.

"We have an obligation to protect the well being 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."

Any violation of the consent agreement would require that Palen and Dickson surrender their ACFA license and transfer any animals at the facility to the department.

Koster, in cooperation with the department, has made cracking down on facilities that are not compliant with the law a priority in his office.

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