ARGYLE, Iowa — Last month, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa removed 42 dogs and 41 hamsters from the home of an unlicensed breeder in Lee County. On Tuesday, March 15, the ARL's mobile rescue team removed another 225 animals from "horrendous conditions" in the same home.
According to a Facebook post, the ARL assisted authorities this week with removing about 40 dogs and puppies, more than 100 barn animals - including donkeys, chickens, goats, ducks, geese, peacocks, turkeys, a pig and a miniature horse - and numerous small animals and lizards from the home.
According to the ARL, the dogs were found crammed into wire cages and living in their own feces. They were suffering from diarrhea, fleas, rotten teeth and ear infections.
One puppy, who was just a week old, was in critical condition. The rescue team found her cold and alone on the dirt floor of a shed, and she was immediately placed in an incubator. As of Thursday, she was under round-the-clock care in an experienced foster home, according to the post.
The lizards and smaller animals were found living in their own filth and many were in need of immediate medical care. Several birds were emaciated or very thin with feather loss.
The barn animals were packed together in dirty enclosures with no food or water. According to the post, the ARL was most worried for the goats, many of whom were severely thin and suffering from parasites that could be fatal. Veterinarians specializing in barn animals began treatment this week.
The ARL said it spent hours moving all the animals into clean kennels and onto trucks and trailers for the long drive back to its animal shelter in Des Moines.
David and Gina Sams of Argyle, Iowa, were both charged with seven counts of animal neglect for the incident.
According to criminal complaints filed against the couple, David Sams agreed to sell seven German Shephard puppies to an individual with Keokuk Animal Services Partners in Rescue back in February. Gina Sams had been trying to sell the puppies since November. He sold the animals for $150 each, totaling $1,050.
The puppies, ranging from six-to-eight months old, were “underweight, had impacted feces in their fur, pale gums and were in need of extensive de-worming.” One of the eight-month-old male puppies weighed just 31 pounds, less than half of the average weight for a male puppy at that age.
Court records show that a search warrant was executed on Tuesday. However, there were no documents filed that described what law enforcement found as of Thursday morning, and their investigation remained ongoing.
With hundreds more animals in its care, ARL has asked the public for assistance. To donate online, click or tap here.