COLUMBIA, Mo. - UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Health Department said it could not provide more information on the dogs because it "does not comment on pending litigation."
ORIGINAL STORY: A Columbia woman has been charged with five counts of animal abuse after a dog was found to have starved to death in her care. Four other dogs were removed from her home with serious health issues.
According to court documents, Charlotte Kerr was watching a 2-year-old Gordon setter for her friend for about two weeks starting around June 28.
On July 15, the friend received a call from Kerr who said the dog, Coal, had died. Kerr told the friend she'd found the dog dead on July 13, but left the dog in a crate for two days. The friend sent another woman to retrieve the body.
According to Animal Control Officer Deborah Christoff, the woman brought Coal to the Boone County Health Department to have his microchip scanned to make sure it was really him. Christoff said they did the scan, and the microchip matched. The officer said she recommended they do an autopsy on Coal to figure out why "a young healthy dog would just suddenly die."
The results showed that Coal died of starvation, and so the friend decided to pursue charges against Kerr.
"(The friend) was very upset that a young dog had suffered and died as a result of lack of care," wrote Christoff in the report.
On August 7, Christoff served a search warrant on Kerr's home and found four adult dogs that needed to be removed. One was very near death.
According to the court documents, the first dog removed was an English Setter named Devon. Apparently, Devon was in a crate with no room and had no food or water available. The dog was covered in urine and feces.
"Devon was extremely emaciated," wrote Christoff in the report. "(He) stumbled about looking for food and water when released from his crate."
They took him to the Central Missouri Humane Society for treatment, where he was put on a feeding schedule.
Three black and tan Gordon setters were also in Kerr's basement. They were also in crates with no room to move and covered in urine or feces. The three dogs were also taken to the Humane Society to be evaluated and treated for conjunctivitis and parasites.
ABC 17 News reached out to the Humane Society, and a spokesperson said the dogs were no longer there. They referred additional questions about the dogs to Animal Control, because the dogs were under the department's jurisdiction.
ABC 17 News has a call in with Animal Control to find out more about the dogs.
Michelle Casey, the associate director of the Humane Society, said in general, when people leave their pets, it should be with someone who is "able to accept responsibility for that animal."