UPDATE: Charges Announced in Iowa Puppy Mill Case

March 29, 2019

caged samoyeds

With support from the ASPCA, the Worth County Sheriff’s Office has announced animal neglect charges against Worth County resident Barbara Kavars. The Manly resident is charged with 17 misdemeanor counts of animal neglect for failing to provide her confined dogs with sufficient food or water, adequate shelter and/or necessary sustenance, causing them unjustified pain, distress or suffering.

On November 12, 2018, the ASPCA was called in to assist with evidence collection, transport and sheltering of 160 dogs from a commercial breeding facility often referred to as a “puppy mill” in Worth County, Iowa. Upon arriving at the scene, investigators discovered the dogs, all Samoyeds, living in overcrowded conditions, without food or unfrozen water. Many of the dogs were found in filthy kennels in below-freezing temperatures. At least one kennel was damaged by a fallen tree, and all were laden with feces and smelled strongly of ammonia. Several of the dogs were pregnant when removed from the property.

The ASPCA removed the animals from the property and transported them to an undisclosed temporary shelter where they received ongoing care and treatment. Most of the animals have since been placed with shelters and rescue groups across the country, where they have been made available for adoption, with many already living in new loving homes. Some animals have also been placed with the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in North Carolina, where they are receiving specialized treatment for extreme fear and undersocialization. 

“The ASPCA focuses on protecting animals from situations of cruelty and neglect, which is often the case in commercial breeding facilities where profit is prioritized over the wellbeing of the animals,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “We are pleased to be in a position where we can assist law enforcement agencies like the Worth County Sheriff’s Office to rescue animal victims and are grateful for our network of Response Partners across the country who have given these dogs a second chance to find safe and loving homes.”

The following groups assisted with this case by providing support in the field or taking in dogs to be made available for adoption:

Adopt-A-Pet Inc. (Fenton, Michigan); Animal Rescue League of Iowa (Des Moines, Iowa); Buckeye Samoyed Rescue (Ohio); Cedar Bend Humane Society (Waterloo, Iowa); CHA Animal Shelter (Columbus, Ohio); Columbus Humane (Columbus, Ohio); Humane Society of North Iowa (Mason City, Iowa); Humane Society of Scott County (Davenport, Iowa); Kansas Humane Society (Wichita, Kansas); LuvnPupz (Wyoming, Michigan); Nebraska Humane Society (Omaha, Nebraska); San Francisco Samoyed Rescue (San Rafael, California); and Wichita Animal Action League (Wichita, Kansas). 

The investigation was set into motion by the Worth County Sheriff’s Office when local animal welfare groups became aware of the breeder’s alleged inability to properly care for her animals and alerted local authorities to investigate the matter. The breeder was previously licensed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The ASPCA has rescued countless dogs from puppy mills across the nation and has been active in promoting legislation at both the state and federal levels to strengthen regulations and improve oversight of the standards of care of dogs in commercial breeding facilities. Dogs at these facilities are often kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions without adequate access to veterinary care, food, water, or socialization. The ASPCA’s Barred From Love campaign urges the public to speak out against cruel breeding and also encourages dog lovers to adopt from a local shelter or rescue group or learn how to identify a responsible breeder.

The charges outlined above are merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.