Judge Allows Hoarder 10 Unaltered Rabbits Or Guinea Pigs After 700 Seized From Neglect

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January 16, 2018 

"This Court finds that the animals seized from the Galkowskis were neglected within the meaning of Iowa Code §717B.3."

Dead animals
were found scattered throughout the residence of Marshall and Barbara Galkowski in various states of decomposition, some stored in a freezer."   A veterinarian assessed the condition of the residence animals and determined that many of them were malnourished, dehydrated and were living in overcrowded conditions that were heavily contaminated with excessive amounts of fecal matter. The Humane Society also said there was evidence that some of the animals had "DIY surgery" by an untrained person, in progress.  

A number of dead animals were also found in the trash, on a work bench and in some of the cages. Small animal Veterinarian A. Leigh Annen, DVM testified that in one cage, a rabbit had died and another rabbit had started eating its corpse — a sign, she said, of serious nutrition deficiency, because only in desperate situations will a rabbit eat meat.  Many of the animals had no food or water crammed in small cages unable to move

We the Petitioners respectfully request Benton County Attorney David Thompson Appeal this Court Order recommending the removal of the rabbits or guinea pigs from this home OR ask for an order to Spay and Neuter these 10 animals to Discourage Future Breeding, we
 also request a limit of animals owned as well as wellness checks on animals in this home for a reasonable length of time.

The CVHS
said the smell, empty water and food dishes, the sight of dead animals sharing cages with living ones, and even apparent incidents of “Do it Yourself” surgery performed on the animals was just part of the devastation its personnel found.  Some of the animals passed after seized from severe malnutrition, animals at the shelter are being treated for upper respiratory infections, fur loss, corneal edema, eye mass, eye discharge, nasal discharge, skin lesions, mastitis, fungal infections, ear injuries and infections, dehydration, hypotrichosis, elbow crepitus, coughing, wheezing, sore hocks, mites, chipped teeth, urine scald, abrasions, vitamin C deficiency, pneumonia and birds appear to be overly exposed to disease.  Photos of Confiscation.  Over 700 animals were confiscated which turned into 800 after new births.

The Vinton Police Department states these animals included “rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, chinchillas, turtles, fish, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and a ball python.  Vinton Police Department Press Release.

According to the Iowa District Court Order
JUDGE  PATRICK GRADY ALLOWS THE FAMILY TO RETRIEVE 10 RABBITS OR GUINEA PIGS.  THERE IS NO MENTION OF SPAY OR NEUTER (UNALTERED ANIMALS)  It appears Judge Grady has put 10 of these animals back in danger by allowing them to return to the same neglectful breeding environment with no mention in the court order of improving the living conditions or wellness checks on the animals.  The family was also permitted to keep a turtle, dog and 3 lizards. 

The length of pregnancy in the rabbit is 31 days and the doe can produce from 1 to 12 young each time she gives birth. She can be impregnated again within minutes of giving birth.  The guinea pig gestation period is 59 to 73 days. The litter size ranges from 1 to 8 pups. A female can give birth to up to 5 litter's per year.

We the Petitioners are appalled and shocked with the unethical decision of Judge Patrick Grady allowing irresponsible animal owners/hoarders to own any animals, let alone unaltered rabbits or guinea pigs which in turn, allows free will to breed hundreds of animals back into a life of neglect, misery and death.  A situation of Animal Cruelty, burden to the Police, Animal Rescues and Taxpayers. 

We the Petitioners are further disappointed that consideration was given to animal owners/hoarders found guilty in court of animal neglect, for hundreds of suffering animals, several deaths, decomposing animals living with live animals causing extreme distress.
Further concern, news reports an Illegal Ball Python living uncaged among prey animals that could literally be scared to death or eaten alive being suffocated and crushed. 
Judge Grady also sadly signed this order on 2/8/2018 stating:  "Any animals remaining after February 18, 2018, shall be destroyed as provided in Iowa Code §717B.4 (4)".   10 days later - after helpless animals were safe from a life of misery, disease, starvation and unforgivable suffering. 
 
WE THE PETITIONERS RESPECTFULLY REQUEST A FULL INVESTIGATION INTO THE FOLLOWING CONCERNS

Animal Neglect Charges
IOWA CODE ANN. § 717B.3 (2012). Animal neglect Charges

1. and 3.
The Humane Society stated evidence that some of the animals had surgery by an untrained person. This immoral practice would cause unbearable/unjustified pain, suffering, distress and infection to animals.  
Case: Woman charged after performing surgery on her dog - Iowa

65.3(3) Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). Animals imported into the state must be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. Galkowski testified rescuing a number of "sick" animals from Wisconsin approximately 10 days before authorities arrived, showing rental truck receipts. 

Ordinance 27 Dangerous Animals Civil Penalty Charges
Ball Python.  717F. 11 Civil penalty. 

Licensing / Dealer
"Galkowski, who has not been criminally charged, did not have license to sell, adopt or operate an animal rescue, a spokesman with the Iowa Department of Agriculture said". 

Health Department Violations per Police and Humane Society Reports of feces, urine and sick animals .


Iowa residents wanting to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to support stronger animal welfare legislation in Iowa, here is how to find your Senators/House Rep's contact information:
State Senator Directory
State House Directory

SPECIAL THANKS
The Vinton Police Department, Cedar Valley Humane Society,  A. Leigh Annen, DVM, Friends of the Shelter and the Wild Thunder Animal Rescue.
Reporter Dean Close for his exceptional news reporting.  Samantha Myers KCRG.

REFERENCES
Animal Hoarding: An Introduction
VPD, Humane Society Removing Many Animals From Vinton Residence; Probe Continues 
Samantha Myers KCRG
The Cedar Valley Humane Society is closed for the weekend because it is overflowing with animals.
Vinton animal raid raises questions about state licensing
Hearing Under Way To Determine Fate of Animals Seized From Vinton Home
Decision Expected Soon In Vinton Animal Case
Galkowski to Court: To Return All Seized Animals
Animal Ruling: Family Can Keep 14 Animals, But Most To Remain In Care Of Shelters 
Iowa District Court Order
ASPCA A Closer Look At Animal Hoarding

 

 

 

 

 



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