OTTUMWA — Trial has been scheduled in the case that preceded the rescue of hundreds of animals in Drakesville.
Roger Blew, 45, of Drakesville, has pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges he faced in Ottumwa. Police charged Blew with one count of improperly confining animals and three counts of cruelty to animals. On Wednesday, a judge set 9:30 a.m. April 17 as the trial date.
An Ottumwa Police Department officer found Blew's van parked on Church Street in mid-February. The officer contacted fellow officer Jeff Williams, who acts as the department's animal control officer.
Williams discovered 20 animals, which he believed were far too many, packed in the vehicle, including one that had died. Another was dying, Williams said, and finally expired while police were there. A third animal was said to be in such bad shape, it had to be euthanized by a veterinarian. Blew was charged at the OPD.
Blew got his animals and his van back.
However, suspicion in that situation inspired Williams to investigate further with assistance from the Davis County Sheriff's Office.
His hunch paid off: The Drakesville discovery of 300 animals, many dead, many more living inside the house, resulted in one of the largest animal rescue efforts in Iowa.
Blew is currently free on bail.
As for the animals taken by authorities, Animal Rescue League of Iowa has found nearly all of them homes. People have wanted to help, meaning the league didn't have to go searching for homes.
"Mostly they came to us," said Josh Colvin, operations manager for animal control. "We have a pretty good network for fostering."
But these animals now have permanent homes.
"Things are really rolling," said Colvin. "In fact, the only thing we have now are mice in foster [homes], but we've got everything else adopted out."
— News reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark