Missouri’s attorney general files a motion to stop Douglas County, Mo., dog breeder again

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 1:24 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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AVA, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - The Missouri Attorney General’s Office filed another criminal contempt motion in court against a Douglas County dog breeder after finding she possessed dogs and a billboard advertising her business.

Investigators say Marilyn Shepherd is in direct violation of the consent judgment set by the Circuit Court of Douglas County after she was found to have breached the Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) in 2020. Attorney General Eric Schmitt asked the court to remove all dogs from her care and impose a fine of $9,500.

“There are laws in place to ensure that Missouri dog breeders care for their dogs’ in humane conditions, and my office has been steadfast in upholding those laws,” said Attorney General Schmitt.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office initially filed suit against Shepherd in Douglas County for violations of the ACFA on July 8, 2020. Investigators found Shepherd had violated the ACFA. The court entered a consent judgment on December 16, 2020, ordering Shepherd to pay $11,000 in civil penalties unless she limits her animals to no more than 20 dogs and/or cats with ten or fewer being intact females, make her facility available for random inspection, and be ineligible for an ACFA license for ten years. The attorney general argued Shepherd agreed to the terms in February 2021.

On September 23, 2021, Animal Welfare Officials inspected Shepherd’s property. They say they found her to violate the consent judgment, as she possessed more than the allotted 20 dogs with a limit of ten intact females on the property. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office subsequently filed a motion for contempt in November 2021, citing Shepherd’s violations of the consent judgment. The court found Shepherd in contempt and ordered that she pay $1,000 in civil penalties, revoked her dog breeder license, and ordered several dogs seized from her property. The court also prohibited Shepherd from advertising animals for sale and harboring more than three intact female dogs and six intact male dogs on her property until 2030.

On August 31, inspectors from the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Program found Shepherd to be in violation of those terms, discovering an excess amount of dogs and a billboard advertising her business on her property during a random inspection. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office then filed the Motion for Judgment of Contempt and a Show Case hearing on September 15. That filing can be found here: https://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/mda-v-shepherd-motion-for-contempt-court-stamped.pdf?sfvrsn=5490a5be_2

The hearing on the motion for criminal contempt is scheduled for October 11.

Douglas County Sheriff Chris Degase said his office has dealt with Shepherd from time to time.

“Been times they’ve shown up to do kennel inspections, and they were met with hostility,” said Sheriff Degase. “We’ve gone with the state several times on that to do those inspections just because of the hostility they get met with.”

Sheriff Degase said she has been selling dogs in the area for some time.

”Some allegations she was selling some dogs at a farmers market which violated the court order that was put in place,” said Sheriff Degase.

Sheriff Degase said in their last interaction he saw the dogs were healthy, but she did violate the order in how many she had.

He said she has continued to sell dogs.

”In the past, she has sold a lot of dogs,” said Sheriff Degase. “I think when new kennel laws and things were put into place, she was one of those that probably didn’t want to conform to those new requirements.”

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