By MARK NEWMAN
Courier staff writer
OTTUMWA — A surprised smile spread from rescuer to rescuer.
“When we arrived back here Saturday morning, one of the rabbits had had a batch of new baby bunnies,” said Stephanie Filer, fundraising director for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.
They needed a smile after their stressful Friday. The Des Moines professionals spent the day in Drakesville, at “one of the worst” animal-in-danger situations they had seen.
“And some of them had been in rescues like [the aftermath] of Hurricane Katrina, so for them to say it’s one of the worst, you know it’s pretty bad,” Filer said.
The ARL of Iowa took around 300 animals back to their multi-unit rescue center. They left behind the 50 animals that were already dead when authorities executed a search warrant.
“When we have neglected animals in with dead animals, that makes it worse for me,” said Josh Colvin, the ARL of Iowa operations manager. “It shows continuing [stages] of neglect. It shows me this was a long time developing.”
Though they’re “not happy” with the way the animals were treated, it’s not Colvin’s place to condemn the homeowner.
“We don’t know the whole story [because] we’re focused on the animal part, helping the animals,” he said. “We do have the resources to house them, and a full medical staff. We’re going to be able to get them healthy and get them adopted. And that’s good news.”
They took the bulk of the goats, lambs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, mice, rabbits, pigs, sugar gliders, skunks, hamsters, rats and “56 hissing cockroaches,” beetle-like insects that makes a hissing noise when you pet them.
The Heartland Humane Society sent a truck and two workers at the request of the Ottumwa Police Department. They’ve had mixed good and bad news, too.