Missouri Attorney General files motion for judgment of “Criminal Contempt” against dog breeder

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Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced that his office has filed an application for a show cause hearing and a Motion for Judgment of Criminal Contempt against dog breeder Marilyn Shepherd, after finding that she currently possesses dogs on her property and a billboard advertising her business.

These findings are in direct violation of the Consent Judgment set by the Circuit Court of Douglas County after Shepherd was found to have breached the Animal Care Facilities Act in 2020. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office asks that in addition to Shepherd being held in contempt, the Court remove all dogs from her care and order the defendant to pay $9,500 in suspended civil judgment penalty.

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

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office originally filed suit against Shepherd in Douglas County for violations of the ACFA on July 8, 2020. Finding that Shepherd had violated the ACFA, the Court entered a consent judgment on December 16, 2020, ordering that Shepherd pay $11,000 in civil penalties, unless she limits her animals to no more than twenty 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. Shepherd agreed to the terms in February 2021.

On September 23, 2021, Animal Welfare Officials inspected Shepherd’s property and found her to be in violation of the Consent Judgment, as she possessed more than the allotted twenty 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, 2022, 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, 2022. That filing can be found here.

The hearing on the Motion for Criminal Contempt is scheduled for October 11, 2022. The case is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Keyla Rhoades and Richard Groeneman.