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PLEASANT HILL, Mo. — A St. Louis animal shelter now has permanent custody of the 29 dogs rescued last month from a rural Pleasant Hill property.

Wednesday afternoon, the Cass County Circuit Court officially awarded the Humane Society of Missouri permanent custody of the dogs that were rescued from frigid weather on Dec. 22, 2022 and months of concern due to possible neglect and endangerment of the animals.

Wind chills dropped to 30 degrees below zero as rescue teams removed the dogs.

HSMO said now that the dogs are permanently in its custody, the dogs are eligible to receive additional care and treatment, engage in socialization programs and receive spay/neuter surgeries.

“Many of the dogs are suffering from frostbite, heartworms, or other serious health issues,” the humane society said. “Each dog’s treatment plan will be updated based on their individual needs and the dogs will be made available for adoption as they recover.”

In recent months, animal advocates have said the dogs have been chained to cars at the property with no water or electricity. They have also been worried about people using a nearby trail where there have been 11 dog bites in the past five years.

Last Thursday, the owner went before a judge to try to take the dogs back to the property where he’s accused by Cass County of running an illegal salvage yard. The request was denied.