NORTHWOOD, Iowa (FOX 47) — Barbara Kavars has been found guilty all 14 counts of animal neglect she’d been facing following a raid at her dog breeding operation in November, 2018.
The jury reached that verdict Friday afternoon. The 14 counts are one for each dog discovered to be in poor health during the raid.
At the time, the facilities were noted as being unsanitary, with a mixture of mud and animal waste on the walls. The dogs in question suffered from various untreated conditions as well as malnourishment. On the morning of the raid, no food or water was found for the dogs.
Kavars disputes that, saying she was feeding and watering all 154 dogs in her possession. Still they had low Purina Body Condition Scores, where a healthy dog is rated as a 4 or 5 out of 9.
“What the state is asking is for you to find that a 2 out of 9, and most certainly a 1 out of 9, is not a reasonable level of nutrition in that animal,” said Worth County assistant attorney Kelsey Beenken, addressing the jury. “When their bodies have such an adverse effect that their muscles are wasting away, that is not a reasonable level of nutrition.”
While 13 of the 14 dogs’ health improved after being removed from the defendant’s care, one dog had to be euthanized because of an infection resulting from an untreated injury.
In court, Kavar’s attorney admitted that while conditions could have been better, the dogs were being properly cared for. He also noted that his client had contacted various organizations in an attempt to reduce her operation to a manageable size for one person.
The Humane Society of North Iowa says this is a win, but not for them, for the dogs.
“The thought of one person being able to provide adequate and sufficient care to the number of dogs is really just impractical and I don’t know how any one person could do that,” said Sybil Soukup, executive director of the Humane Society of North Iowa. “We aren’t in the business of helping breeders stay in business but we also want to make sure no animals are suffering. We knew that animals were suffering on her farm so we leapt into action. Over the course of 11 months, we took in 140 dogs directly from Barb and then the ASPCA [American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] came in and removed 154 more.”
Animal neglect is a misdemeanor in Iowa with a maximum punishment of a $1,500 fine and or up to one year imprisonment.