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|Judge(s):||Samuel K. Erhardt|
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Thursday, Feb 13, 2014County: Wapello
Case Images: 1 files available
Defendant/Suspect: Roger Alan Blew
The case that became known as the "Goat Van on Church Street" was brought to trial on April 2014.
Magistrate Judge Samuel K. Erhardt presided over the proceedings. The City of Ottumwa was represented by City Attorney Joni Keith and the defendant, Roger Alan Blew, represented himself in the matter. Blew was charged with three counts of Cruelty to Animals and one count of Confining Animals, after officers found Blew's van abandoned on Church Street on February 13, 2014.
The van contained two adult goats, twelve kids (baby goats), three rabbits and six chickens. Two of the baby goats died while officers were on-scene and another had to be euthanized by the veterinarian who responded to the call.
During Thursday's trial, Officer Jeff Williams and Veterinarian Meredith Johns testified about the circumstances that led to Blew's charges. Another witness, Rodney Mason, also took the stand. Mason lived with Blew and testified that he recalled Blew going to his Drakesville home, with the animals in his van, on the evening of February 12 and then leaving for a funeral February 13.
Mason told the Court that he did not recall Blew feeding, watering, or removing the animals from the vehicle during that time. However, cross-examination revealed that Mason was run-over by a vehicle in the past and that incident has caused him to have memory issues.
Keith gave her closing argument after approximately an hour of testimony. Blew declined to testify or deliver a closing argument. After the proceeding, Hon. Erhardt retreated to his Chambers to consider the evidence presented in trial. A short time later, Judge Erhardt returned to the Courtroom and shared his rulings.
Roger Blew was found guilty of all four counts and will be fined. The three counts of Animal Cruelty are punishable by $250 each ($750 total) and the Confining Animals charge carries a $100 fine. He is also responsible for a $60 court-cost for each count ($240 total) and will have to pay a 35% surcharge on the entire fine.
- Ottumwa Evening Post - April 17, 2014
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