September 2020
Veterinarian Margaret Ann Nichols, DVM defended malnourished dogs with the following statement, “Reducing dietary intake by 25%, the life span of dogs can be significantly increased.”
The Missouri Attorney General on behalf of the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) recently obtained a consent judgment against Marlisa McAlmond d/b/a Cedar Ridge Australians. The Attorney General had charged that Cedar Ridge had failed to provide adequate veterinary care to its animals, failed to provide adequate housing, and failed to provide the animals with adequate health and husbandry measures. Cedar Ridge has also been cited for unsanitary living conditions and on several occasions cited for not providing drinking water for its animals. 

As a result of the consent judgement, McAlmond must relinquish over 200 dogs to the state so that they may be adopted into loving homes and receive care and affection for the first time in their lives.

Unfortunately, justice for these dogs was delayed for many months as McAlmond aggressively fought the charges by the Attorney General. McAlmond’s principal defense to the allegations of animal neglect were statements prepared by her veterinarian, Margaret Ann Nichols, DVM, of Missouri Cat & Cow Veterinary Clinic, Koshkonong, MO. 

The statements of Dr. Nichols that were submitted to the Court stood in stark contrast to the photographs and testimony of the state inspectors and state veterinarian. 

Dr. Nichols defended the number of malnourished dogs on the premises by contending that “since the early fall of 2019, this kennel experienced problems getting delivery of high energy sport mix dog food” and that “the dogs had to adapt to different brands of dog food.” Yet, Dr. Nichols admits that she has been the attending veterinarian at Cedar Ridge for the past five years and Cedar Ridge has been cited for underweight dogs since 2016.

Dr. Nichols even proclaimed the kennel to be “impressive” since she considered the number of dogs that were malnourished to be a small percentage of total dogs on the premises. Dr. Nichols comments that “At one of the last state inspector visits, fourteen dogs were cited as being underweight. With puppies and adults both counted on that day and numbering over 300, this seems like a low percentage for this size population.”  

Regrettably, Dr. Nichols’ gross mischaracterization of the state’s evidence and photographs had an undue influence on the Court. It is for this reason that the Alliance has filed an official complaint with the Missouri Veterinary Medical Board against Dr. Nichols. In our complaint, we allege that the erroneous and misleading statements by Dr. Nichols delayed justice for these dogs and delayed their medical care that was being neglected by the breeder.

We emphasized to the Veterinary Board that Dr. Nichols had an obligation, as the attending veterinarian at Cedar Ridge, to ensure that the dogs received proper veterinary care. In fact, Dr. Nichols had signed an agreement with the Missouri Department of Agriculture attesting that she was responsible for providing adequate veterinary care to the dogs as well as for supervising the nutrition, the health, and husbandry for all dogs on the premises. 

As we go to press, eighty-two of McAlmond’s several hundred dogs still have not been turned over to the state by McAlmond. We will keep you advised of the ongoing efforts by MDA and the Attorney General to seek freedom for these remaining dogs.