DRAKESVILLE — Defendants may be presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law, but the court seems to be playing it safe in the case of a Davis County man accused in one of Iowa's worst cases of animal neglect.
Paperwork filed in Davis County this week orders that Roger Blew, 45, "shall not be in possession of any animals" before a trial date has even been scheduled.
The preliminary hearing was set for Friday, but that won't happen: The defendant waived the preliminary hearing.
The Davis County Sheriff's Office arrested Blew a week after a multi-agency search was made at his home. Authorities assisting in the rescue of animals said this was one of the worst cases of hoarding they'd seen in Iowa.
The investigation and search warrant execution led officers to discover approximately 279 live animals. Some had been neglected to death, police allege. Around 60 animals were deceased and still within the property when it was searched. Live and dead animals were housed together.
This week, the court issued an order approving a defense attorney for Blew to be paid at the state's expense.
He has been charged with 28 related crimes: animal neglect, livestock neglect, failure to dispose of dead animals, violations of game breeder regulations and animal neglect resulting in death. Eight of the charges are serious misdemeanors, which could carry up to one year in jail each. The others are simple misdemeanors, which carry up to 30 days in jail.
Last week, his bail was changed from $1,000 cash only to $1,000 standard bail. Records show that Blew did pay $100, the 10 percent needed to remain free until trial.
The status of the house on North Washington Street, within which most of the animals were found, is unclear. A call to the agency responsible for public health in Davis County was not returned by press time on Tuesday.
— News reporter Mark Newman is on Twitter @couriermark