Saved dogs given second leash on life

Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:22 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The family of a woman who died in an accidental house fire last week has released the 57 dogs she owned to the custody of the Central Missouri Humane Society.

Humane society workers, assisted by Boone County Animal Control and the Boone County Fire Department, moved and transported the animals, which had been found in an outdoor kennel with no water and little food. Elouise Sipe died Thursday in a flue fire that caused more than $100,000 damage to her house at 5660 Liddell Lane.

Matt Rold of the Missouri Department of Agriculture said that for the past six months Sipe had been monitored by the department for running an unlicensed commercial breeding facility. The department had yet to take action, Rold said, because it did not have proof that Sipe had sold any dogs.

The day before the fire, an investigator for the humanesociety visited Sipe after receiving a complaint from a woman who had bought a dog that later died of a preventable disease. Representatives from the humane society and Agriculture Department had planned to meet with Sipe the day after the fire.

“We made an appointment to help bring her into compliance,” said Karen Stix, the Central Missouri Humane Society interim executive director.

Stix said that now the dogs are the property of the humane society, they can be checked for heartworms, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Although one died this morning from a congenital defect unrelated to the conditions at Sipe’s house, Stix said the others are progressing well and have good temperaments.

She said they seem to have been loved despite the poor conditions in which they were found.

“Sometimes dogs from puppy mills are so neurotic and cage crazy that they have to be put down,” Stix said.

Lindsee Billings, operations manager for the humane society said the dogs should be ready for adoption next week. Media attention and the fact that the dogsare small breeds have already generated great interest in adoption, she said.

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