An Iowa animal rescue organization removed hundreds of animals living in crammed, filthy conditions from a rural Lee County property in recent weeks.
In February, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa helped law enforcement remove 42 dogs and puppies packed into wire crates and living in their own waste, according to a news release from the organization. A medical team began caring for the dogs, who were thin and had rotting teeth and fleas.
The organization also found two small cages with 41 hamsters living on top of each other with dead hamsters and feces. Two of the living hamsters had to be euthanized due to severe injuries. The rest of the hamsters were cleaned and made safe, according to the release.
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Animal Rescue League later announced that the organization helped remove 225 more animals this week from the southeast Iowa home: dogs, barn animals, reptiles and other small animals, again living in “horrendous” conditions.
Nearly 40 more dogs and puppies were found in cages inside the home. Outside, 100 barn animals—goats, donkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, peacocks, turkeys, a pig and a miniature horse—were packed together in enclosures with no food or water.
The animals were transported to Polk County for care, according to the release, and moved into clean spaces with food, water and bedding for further care.
Many of the animals have serious medical concerns and injuries, including emaciation, parasites, infections, feather loss and diarrhea.
The property owners chose to relinquish the first set of animals in February to the ARL, but not the others, and law enforcement lacked cause to remove the other animals without consent at the time, the organization said. Authorities later obtained a second search and seizure warrant, and a licensed veterinarian found that all animals needed to be removed. The property owners chose to give up the animals in the middle of the removal process.
A man and woman of the Argyle area, in Lee County, were charged with seven counts of animal neglect on March 7.
Law enforcement believe they were not provided with proper nutrition and lived in unsanitary conditions. An ongoing investigation.
The Animal Rescue League is asking for donations, which can be made on its website or by mail and in person at 5452 NE 22nd St., Des Moines.
Chris Higgins covers the eastern suburbs for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-423-5146 and follow him on Twitter @chris_higgins_.