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Friday, Feb 21, 2014County: Davis
Case Images: 2 files available
Alleged: Roger Alan Blew
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Animal rescuers laid out dozens of dead animals into neat rows Friday, while a police officer chipped away at ice chunks containing frozen animal carcasses, in what authorities said may be one of the largest animal hoarding cases in the state.
Sheriff's deputies and others executed a search warrant at the Drakesville, Iowa, home of Roger Blew on Friday and discovered an estimated 200 animals, both alive and dead -- from cats and dogs to chickens, sheep, pigs, skunks and turtles.
"As far as dead animals, this is the worst I've ever seen," said Officer Jeff Williams, an Ottumwa Police Department officer assisting at the property.
Davis County Chief Deputy Josh Odell said there is no official count of animals yet, but he and others estimated around 200, possibly more.
Part of the problem in counting was finding all of the creatures; a police officer using an iron rod as an ice pick was chipping away at ice on the lawn, which had frozen animals locked within it.
At some animal neglect scenes, it's the smell that causes the most complaints among rescuers and neighbors. Friday on North Washington Street, it was the sounds that drew comments: The bleating of a sheep, the clucking of chickens and the call of a rooster all came from the street. A steady stream of rescuers came out of the house with cage after cage of creatures.
The sugar gliders -- small marsupials similar to flying squirrels -- made screaming noises as they were rescued from the house. In a kennel, a ferret shared space with a live skunk.
Responders at the scene reported that the animals found also included a Guinea fowl, a dog, about a dozen mice, a rooster, a baby lamb, one ferret, two skunks, a full-grown turkey, multiple pot-bellied pigs, two turtles, a raccoon, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs, a few birds and one kitten.
"I don't know why anybody would want to have this many animals," said Josh Colvin, operations director for the Animal Rescue league of Iowa. "I'm looking at this as a hoarding situation."
He said inside the house, it appeared someone was a collector of various other things. He got the sense that the animals were just another aspect of the collecting.
"This didn't develop overnight," Colvin said, as an officer behind him carried a dead baby lamb from the house to the lawn.
One of the humane society representatives said the odor in the house was awful. There were living animals laying on top of dead animals just to have room to lie down.
"It was bad," said Lacey Smith, assistant manager of Ottumwa's Heartland Humane Society. "Really bad."
|A man accused of neglecting a hoard of 300 animals in his care has been charged.|
The Davis County Sheriff's Office has arrested Roger Alan Blew, 45, of Drakesville, one week after a multi-agency search was made of his home. Authorities called their rescue operation one of the worst cases of hoarding they'd seen in Iowa.
The arrest comes after an investigation and search warrant execution which discovered almost 300 animals, some in various states of neglect. There were also 60 which, in some cases, may have been neglected to death. The deceased animals were found in the house and on other parts of the property. Live and dead animals were housed together.
Blew faces charges from two separate agencies. He has been charged by Sheriff Dave Davis with 28 counts of animal neglect as well as "duty to dispose of dead bodies." Eight of the charges are serious misdemeanors, which could carry up to one year in jail each. The other Davis County charges are simple misdemeanors, which each carry up to 30 days in jail.
Blew also faces charges from officers of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. These additional 10 charges, all simple misdemeanors, include not having a valid game breeder license, failure to file annual game breeder report (2013) and game breeder records violations.
Bail has been set at $1,000 cash-only bond, meaning the defendant would have to pay the entire amount to gain release.
It is too soon to know whether Blew will bond out. As of about 10 a.m. Friday, deputies were at the courthouse with Blew after his arrest.
|Source: Ottumwa Courier - Feb 28, 2014|
Update posted on Apr 20, 2014 - 3:46PM
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