SPRINGFIELD | State officials say they can't pinpoint a reason for a dramatic increase in the number of abused and neglected dogs rescued in Missouri this year.
Since January, the Department of Agriculture has seized more than 1,100 dogs statewide, about twice as many as in January and February 2008. Action has been taken against 23 Missouri breeders so far this year.
Why abused animal rescues are rising is unclear. Agriculture department spokeswoman Misti Preston said the struggling economy may mean fewer people are buying dogs, which would leave breeders' kennels -- and cages -- more crowded.
Inadequate follow-up may also be part of the problem. Owners of at least two of the facilities raided in southwest Missouri this year had been cited before, but they continued raising dogs without making changes they agreed to make.