Woman charged with animal abuse, neglect after 53 dogs are rescued in Missouri, By Emily Rittman KCTV 5
JOHNSON COUNTY, Mo. (KCTV) - A woman is facing animal abuse and neglect charges after 53 dogs were rescued from a property in northwest Johnson County, Missouri.
Midwest Animal ResQ, Old Drum Animal Shelter and Risen from the Ashes are caring for the dogs that were removed from the property.
“They were living in deplorable conditions,” said Midwest Animal ResQ Founding Director Erin Morse. “When you’ve got 50-some-odd animals coming out of one location, it’s a big undertaking.”
According to court records, investigators received an anonymous call about neglected animals at Merna Scarborough’s property in Pleasant Hill. When investigators went to the property, they say they found severely ill dogs outside of the home and could hear dogs barking inside of the house.
“When you see them living in squalor, it is heartbreaking. There were a lot of dead animals on the property that we didn’t get there soon enough to help,” Morse said. “To somebody who has dedicated their life to animal welfare, it takes a toll.”
Court records state several dogs were diagnosed with sarcoptic mange and were in severe conditions with hair loss, open wounds, scabs and scarring. One German Shepherd was emaciated to the point it could not stand properly and had one-inch wide, deep wounds on its hind limbs consistent with being in a kennel for long periods of time.
“A lot of them had communicable diseases. Zoonotic diseases so those are contagious to humans, not just to other dogs,” Morse said. “They had different types of mange and parasites.”
A search warrant was executed at the property. According to charging documents, the home was covered in dog feces and urine, and the living conditions were not sanitary or safe for animals or humans.
Scarborough is charged with two counts of animal abuse and two counts of animal neglect or abandonment.
The dozens of dogs are being cared for by Midwest Animal ResQ, Old Drum Animal Shelter and Risen From the Ashes until the animals can be cleared for foster and adoption.
“All three of us are in the same boat needing donations, adoptions and fosters,” Morse said. “The need is everywhere. We will absolutely need forever homes once our goal of getting them healthy and happy is reached.”
Animal rescue advocates hope additional charges will be filed. They say animal abuse and neglect are far too common in Missouri.
“As certain breeds become more popular, there are unscrupulous people out there trying to make a quick dollar at the expense of the animals,” Morse said. “My preference is that everyone is able to adopt but, if you are going to purchase a pup, there are reputable breeders out there. If they won’t let you come to their house or meet the parents, those are all big red flags.”
Raytown animal shelter out $30K due to stolen check
By: Andres Gutierrez
Posted at 9:21 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 10:13 PM, Jun 15, 2022
RAYTOWN, Mo. — An animal shelter in Raytown is trying to figure out how to cover expenses after thieves targeted them.
Erin Morse wears many hats at "Midwest Animal ResQ."
The shelter's founding director's latest challenge is to come up with almost $30,000 stolen from the nonprofit's bank account.
"We don't even make that at one of our largest fundraisers of the year," Morse said.
She recently dropped off a check at one of the mail collection boxes at the USPS Post Office located at 10501 E 63rd St.
"Rather than leaving it in a normal mailbox where people can just open it," Morse said. "That's why we take the extra step to put our mail at the post office assuming that those are safe."
But the check never reached its final destination, so she did a "stop payment" on it.
Then, Morse learned this week that someone wrote three fraudulent checks in the amount of $9,400 each, using the animal shelter's routing and bank account number.
"For the last two days, I've been scrambling, trying to figure out how we're going to cover payroll, how we are going to cover vet bills, how we are going to get our account closed and reopened," Morse said.
When she filed a police report, the Raytown Police Department's records clerk wrote to her that they've taken a few reports for stolen checks from that post office.
On social media there are similar tales. Robyn Burky believes her missing check is in the wrong hands.
"I’m really concerned with the fact that somebody could still create fraudulent checks that would hit my account," Burky said.
KSHB 41 News reached out to USPS, who connected us to Paul Shade, a postal inspector out of Overland Park.
He said that USPS is aware of the thefts happening at their 63rd street branch in Raytown.
According to Shade, there's a team of about a dozen postal inspectors looking into such cases across the Kansas City area.
People can report mail theft to USPS by calling 1-877-876-2455 and clicking option #3.
They can also do so online at usps.com/postal inspectors, or on the Postal Inspection Service website.
In addition, they'll also want to reach out to local authorities.
Victims believe USPS isn't doing enough to solve the problem and is failing its customers.
"I certainly think so. I mean, if we're giving them directly to the post office, and those checks are somehow getting put in the hands of criminals, then I would say absolutely," Morse said.
Burky agreed with Morse.
"It doesn't seem like a solution is taking place and so yeah, they're certainly letting us down," she said. "You know, residents want to be able to trust the postal service and rely on them."
"Frankly, I don't know the safest way to send mail at this point," Morse said.
Shade also shared this statement with KSHB 41 News:
"The U.S. Postal Service delivers almost 130 billion pieces of mail a year to over 163 million customers at some of the most affordable postal rates in the world. Postal Inspectors are the federal law enforcement branch that is in place to investigate reports of Mail Theft and other crimes that are related to the mail."