Case Snapshot
Case ID: 16949
Classification: Hoarding
Animal: cat
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Thursday, Nov 18, 2010

County: Wapello

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Sue Davis

Case Updates: 1 update(s) available

Ottumwa Police are investigating a case of animal hoarding at 525 Rochester Road, in which over 90 dogs and cats were being kept at the property.

Jeff Williams, Animal Control officer for the Ottumwa Police Department, responded to a complaint about the animals shortly after 10 AM Thursday. Upon arrival, Williams found sixty-four cats, located in cages and pens in a garage. An additional amount of up to twenty cats and nine dogs were found inside the house. Many of the cats were diseased and at least 13 were euthanized by a veterinarian. Most of the animals were removed and placed with other shelters or other people.

The home is owned and occupied by 72-year-old Sue Davis, who is on the board of directors for Heartland Humane Society in Ottumwa. Jean Sporer, President of Heartland's board of directors did not return calls and was not available for comment.

Sources who asked to remain anonymous, said they believed the animals were "overflow" from Heartland Humane Society. When asked, Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark said, at the time he did not know where the animals came from.

Sandy Hudeck, a former manager of the facility said, "No animals were sent to her house when I was the manager. I wouldn't allow it."

Several former board members of Heartland Humane Society told KLEE and TOM-FM News their decisions to resign from the board were at largely in part due to the animal shelters "no kill policy," which lead to a consistent problem of over population at the facility. One former board member said, "You can't save every animal, and many of the animals out there have been there too long. Some are just un-adoptable, but they keep them anyway."

Davis was charged with one count of Sanitation of Premises, and one count of Number of Animals Restricted. Both charges are simple misdemeanors and Davis was released on her own recognizance. Clark said the investigation is continuing.

Case Updates

A recent case of pet hoarding has Wapello County officials ready to take action to prevent future problems.

Last week, Sue Davis of Ottumwa, was cited for having over 90 cats and dogs in her on home on West Rochester.

Davis is on the board of the no kill Heartland Humane Society Shelter in Ottumwa.

Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker fears that at least some of the cats found at the Davis home were animals collected by the county.

Parker says that when the county collects stray cats, they are kept at a local vet's office for five days before being put down.

Parker believes Davis may have given the vet the impression that the cats were headed to Heartland Humane, knowing the that the shelter was full and she would have to try to care for them herself.

"If someone is adopting one as a pet, that is fine. But to allow these offsite places to develop. We have reason to believe that at least some of these animals were taken from the vet and they were county animals and they went to that particular home," said Parker.

Parker says that he respects the work Heartland Humane does, but that he doesn't want the county to be responsible for treating animals cruelly.

The issue is on the agenda for the next supervisor's meeting. Parker sats one possible solution to the problem would be for the county to simply stop collecting stray cats.
Source: - Nov 24, 2010
Update posted on Nov 26, 2010 - 9:10PM 


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