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Judge orders return of animals taken from owner

ST. CLAIR, Mo. (AP) — A Franklin County judge has ordered animals seized from a home to be returned to the owner.

The animals — 192 rabbits, 25 goats, 10 cats, 21 chickens, four dogs and a duck — were removed from 75-year-old Velma Muessemeyer's property near St. Clair, Mo., on Nov. 12. It was the second animal seizure there in less than four years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that so far, the animals have not been returned.

Humane Society officials said at the time of the seizure that the animals lived in dirty and dangerous conditions. Muessemeyer was charged with 21 misdemeanor animal abuse counts.

Franklin County Associate Circuit Judge David Tobben said in a ruling last week that there was no evidence that most of the animals were in danger.

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