Over 300 Neglected & Deceased Animals Rescued

posted 4/30/2015

UPDATE (4/30/2015): Roger Blew, owner of the Davis Co. property from which over 300 animals were rescued in February 2014 was found committing the same crime, this time in Missouri.

View updates below:
Radio Iowa


Originally posted 2/21/2014

On Friday, February 21, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) assisted local authorities in Davis County in the rescue of nearly 300 animals, represented by nearly 30 different species.

A view of the property from the street.  The image has been cropped to remove graphic content.

Goats, pot bellied pigs, chickens, ducks, pigeons, quail, mice, hamsters, degus, sugar gliders, and hissing cockroaches were just a few of the animals on the property in Drakesville, IA.  The local animal shelter took the 1 dog and 2 cats back to their shelter and the remaining animals were loaded up for the nearly 2 hour drive back to Des Moines.
"We were so relieved when we saw [the ARL] arrive," one of the local reporters told us, "There is no one else who could handle something like this."
Our rescue team spent all day in the cold, working as quickly as possible to help law enforcement with documentation for the pending criminal case and to get the animals warm and comfortable. Sadly, more than 50 animals were found dead on-site.

Amidst all of the sadness, there were smiles - because this was the last day of suffering for the animals who were still hanging on for rescue.  Some days are hard.  Really hard.  But we are motivated by the animals who need us and inspired by your support.  
An ARL Animal Control Officer smiles with some of the birds because they will never again experience suffering.  They will soon begin their ride to a new life. 

One of the rescuers onsite recounted, "We went through the entire property, in the house, in the outbuildings. We just kept seeing more and more animals. And it was just one building after another. Some of the animals were outside. Horrendous conditions. Horrendous. I cannot emphasize that enough."

An ARL Rescue Ranch care technician assists local police with carrying some of the baby goats from the property. 

While the rescue team was over 100 miles away, the staff back at the ARL was busy setting up housing for the animals.  The Fred & Charlotte Hubbell Animal Activity Center was converted into a small animal housing area and the heated outbuilding was set-up for the days-old goats (some still had their umbilical cords attached).    


As the sun set, the 3 rescue vans and trailers arrived at the ARL and staff quickly unloaded the animals, placed them into their new housing, and gave them food and fresh water - the first time in a long time.    

The news teams arrived as the animals were being unloaded from the rescue vehicles and brought inside to their new, warm and clean beds. 

The next day we arrived back at the shelter to find one of the bunnies and one of the hamsters had delivered babies overnight, so the number of animals was growing.  Our medical team worked quickly to assess the animals for adoption and foster homes.  Our foster volunteers stepped up in a big way and the mother rabbit and her babies were sent to be fostered by our Critter Camp pilot program at Windsor Elementary.
An ARL medical technician examines one of the Degus.  Masks were worn until the health of all of the animals could be evaluated. 
Our team of specially trained volunteers for large scale rescues stepped up to help the staff with cleaning and socializing the animals.  In the hours that followed, many of the animals started to welcome human interaction - and many even sought it out.  
The ARL Foster & Transfer Coordinator gives some attention to one of the rescued chickens. 
Over the weekend 58 animals were adopted and dozens more are recovering in foster homes until they're ready for adoption. 

The pigeons, doves, hens, turkeys, quail, goats, ducks, hissing cockroaches, and pheasants have all been adopted.

The sugar gliders were transferred to a Rescue Partner in Des Moines who specializes in this species.  If you're interested in adopting one of them, e-mail paintlovr@aol.com.

The roosters, rabbits, mice, hamsters, and cockatiels are all available for immediate adoption.  Visit ARL Main to meet one of these animals. 

The pot-bellied pigs, degus, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and rats are all either in foster homes or at the shelter under medical treatment.  They will be listed on our website once they are available for adoption. 
As you can imagine, a rescue of this size puts a big strain on our operation and the cost of care is great.  If you would like to help with this rescue - and to make others like this possible, you can make a donation online at ARL-Iowa.org/donate (reference "Davis County Rescue").
We put the call-out to our Facebook fans over the weekend for specific items that we needed - and they answered the call, delivering aquariums, water bottles, and exercise wheels to replace the disgusting cages the animals were found in.     
The cages were filthy, had no food or water, and too many animals packed into each. 
We could now use the following for on-going care:
-Pine bedding 
-Corn cob bedding 
-Timothy hay
Donations can be delivered or shipped to our Main location (5452 NE 22nd Street, Des Moines, IA 50313) or click here to purchase from our Amazon Wish List and it will be shipped directly to us.

While the story is heartbreaking, the animals' suffering ended that day. With your support, we will never have to turn our backs on animals in need.  The "kids" and the other animals thank you!   

Two of the rescued goats on day 3 of their road to recovery.