The Ottumwa Courier

February 22, 2014

Not guilty plea in animal cruelty case

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA --- A Drakesville man found with hundreds of living and dead animals in his home Friday has plead "not guilty" to the charges from last week that originally brought him to police attention.

Roger Blew, 45, appeared in the Wapello County district court for arraignment on charges from last week's discovery of a van with more than 20 animals inside. Blew is listed as the van's owner.

Last week, the Ottumwa Police Department received a complaint about a van parked on Church Street. Officer Jeff Williams, who handles most animal cases for the department, responded to the scene and discovered the animals in the van.

He told the Courier one of the creatures was dying, and expired while police were there. Another animal was already dead. A third had to be euthanized by a veterinarian. Blew was charged at the OPD. Suspicion in that situation inspired Williams to investigate further.

However, for the Church Street allegations, the formal reading of charges against him on Friday showed four complaints: One for improperly confining animals, and three counts of animal cruelty. Blew's initial plea was "not guilty" on all four counts. That same day, police executed the search warrant on his home.

Though some chickens and rabbits lived in a nearby shed, at least a hundred goats, pigs, mice, turtles and other animals lived in the house itself alongside the human occupants. Many of the animals in the house and around the property were dead.

Police are still investigating the scene in Drakesville to determine who is responsible, and what charges would be brought. In that part of the case, no arrest has been announced. The Davis County Sheriff's Office in Bloomfield, which was in charge of that search warrant execution, said additional details could be shared as early as Monday.

Blew's next appearance on the animal van charges is scheduled for March 19.

News reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark