In what Newton County Sheriff's Office chief deputy Chris Jennings describes as a "terrible accident", 53 puppies were killed Sunday night at a local pet transport company, RDR Transport outside Neosho. The incident took place inside a transport van.
"Apparently there had been a heat source put in for them to keep them warm, and it was too much for them and they overheated," Jennings said.
Jennings reiterates they have no reason to believe there was anything intentional at this time.
The business owner, Renee Ray, released a statement saying, in part, "We realize this accident paints a frightening and emotional picture which some groups may use to try and vilify my business. Everyone here at RDR Transport loves what we do and the puppies we transport."
The full statement is available at the bottom of this page.
"These folks are out a lot of money and they've been in business, there's no reason for anything like this to have been intentional," Jennings said.
The incident was reported to the United States Department of Agriculture. The agency is investigating the case.
Statement from Renee Ray, owner of RDR Transport:
While this tragic accident took place on Sunday night and has taken the lives of 53 puppies, we are grateful to share that many puppies have been saved and have experienced no effects from the accident, as per the examination of the veterinarians on sight after the accident. I have since taken extra precautions, and I have stayed in close contact with my veterinarian on the continuous well being of the puppies that were saved.
My company, RDR Transport, is a legal business which meets regular inspection standards and works closely with licensed veterinarians.
We realize this accident paints a frightening and emotional picture which some groups may use to try and vilify my business. Everyone here at RDR Transport loves what we do and the puppies we transport. What better than a business of delivering beautiful, loving companions to their new loving families.
This was a very tragic accident, and according to emergency crews, it could have been much worse. We are so blessed and we thank God for all the puppies that were saved.
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