According to a December 1, 1997 USDA inspection report signed by Harold Becker, McVeigh had no non-compliant items. The Scotland County Sheriff's Department raided McVeigh's facility on January 20, 1998. Humane Society of Missouri employees and Mary Martin, an inspector from the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA), went with two sheriff deputies. They found seven dead dogs on the property. McVeigh had more than 120 live dogs. The Humane Society of Missouri report stated that the ground under the raised wood and wire pens was saturated with urine and feces. There was about an inch of snow on the ground. There was no food or drinkable water in any of the pens. Some of the bowls contained frozen water.
The humane society report stated that the gang pens contained Labradors and Brittany Spaniels. One pen had a dead Labrador inside a white plastic barrel. Another pen also had a dead Labrador inside a plastic barrel. Outside of the pens were four other dog carcasses and a dog skeleton. There was no drinkable water on the property. Several pens had dead rats, probably killed by the dogs, and rat holes. Only one pen had food (frozen grain and ground corn). Most of the dogs did not have a water pan inside the pen but had to stick their heads out through the hog wire to try and lick frozen water.
The sheriff deputies impounded five adult dogs and two puppies in poor condition and sent them to the humane society shelter in St. Louis. During the examination of the dogs, Joe McVeigh came home. He claimed he fed and watered the dogs twice a day. McVeigh said that the dogs "were thin and just died." According to the report, McVeigh didn't know how many dogs he had. McVeigh's personal veterinarian arrived at the property and stated that he hadn't been there for about a year. At first, he defended McVeigh. Once he saw the dead dogs, he said that McVeigh should have removed the dogs. The vet said that he had advised McVeigh on prior occasions to reduce the number of dogs. He agreed that some of the shelter housing was not adequate.
Mary Martin, the MDA inspector assigned to McVeigh's facility had no comment on the dogs or the conditions. In fact, she told the humane society that she had not been to the property before. The judge in the case turned over seven living Labrador Retrievers to the Humane Society of Missouri. McVeigh kept the other dogs. He must have auctioned most of these dogs since CAPS investigators saw no more than 10 dogs. The judge, who was about to retire, claimed that the prosecution had not properly identified the witnesses and dismissed the case on a technicality. The USDA took no action. McVeigh did not reapply for his USDA or Missouri Department of Agriculture licenses in 1998 or 1999.
Harold Becker left the USDA at the end of 1998. In December 1999, the USDA charged Becker with violations of the Animal Welfare Act. He was operating as an animal dealer without a license.