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Attorney: North Iowa woman wants to see animals seized by Worth County after cat dies

Attorney: North Iowa woman wants to see animals seized by Worth County after cat dies

From the Background: 154 dogs seized at Manly puppy mill, owner seeks custody of 13 animals seized series
Kavars hearing Tuesday 2

Barbara Kavars, 65, of Manly, appears in Worth County Magistrate Court regarding ownership of some of the dogs and cats seized from her property in November by law enforcement and animal welfare officials. 

NORTHWOOD | A North Iowa woman accused of running a puppy mill is asking to see animals seized by Worth County after one cat she requested custody of died and another has become ill.

Barbara Kavars, 65, Manly, a Worth County Magistrate Court to allow her to keep 13 animals, nine Samoyeds and four house cats, of the 154 animals seized by the county the Worth County Sheriff's Office and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in November.

Winnebago County Attorney Kelsey Beenken, who is also an assistant Worth County, argued that the 13 animals should be declared “threatened animals” and should not be returned to Kavars.

Kavars, who claims she did not neglect the animals, has not been charged with a crime. ASPCA says charges are pending.

On Dec. 31, Kavar’s attorney Michael Byrne asked the court to grant Kavars the right to inspect the animals in custody.

Beenken sent Magistrate Douglas Krull and Byrne an email Dec. 28 stating that one a cat was “critically ill” and the ASPCA made the decision to euthanize the cat.

“The animal is suffering serious pain despite extensive palliative care and euthanasia was recommended,” Beenken said in the email.

Beenken said the ASPCA and the county were trying to hold off on making a decision until there was a ruling in the case.

“However, I just received word from the ASPCA that they have decided to euthanize due to the suffering,” she said. “They believe that they could be liable for neglect or something else if they allow the animal to continue living.”

Beenken told Krull and Byrne that she “strongly resisted that decision” since the county does not own the animals.

She further added that there is “a second animal heading in the same direction, very critically ill.”

A total of 154 dogs were seized during an animal neglect-related search warrant Nov. 12. Kavars signed a document surrendering all but the 13 animals she wants to keep.

According to court documents, all four of the cats are between 14 and 18 years old.

Byrne previously said the cats have been raised by Kavars and have all been house cats at her home for their entire lives.

“If Barb does not have those four cats returned to her, they will likely be euthanized due to their age and care requirements,” he said in court documents in December.

North Iowa woman accused of running puppy mill can see some of her dogs, magistrate rules

Beenken replied to that statement, saying there was “not one shred of evidence admitted that supports this statement.”

Byrne asked the court to allow Kavars to inspect all the animals and demanded that the ASPCA should provide information on the care and condition of all animals in their care.

“Kavars should have immediate access to the ‘second animals heading in the same direction’ to give and receive input in the decision of care for that animal,” he said.

Byrne claims that the ASPCA and the county withheld information from Kavars about the animals and that the ASPCA had no authority to euthanize the cat in their care. He asks that the remains of the cat be returned to Kavars “for her opportunity to conduct an vertanary autopsy if she chooses, otherwise dispose of the remains as she chooses.”

On Dec. 4, Beenken told the court that the ASPCA may have to move the 13 animals, as the sheriff's office may not be able to renew the lease where the animals are being held.

ASPCA staff are caring for the dogs at an undisclosed location in Worth County.

Beenken asked the court for authorization to move the animals to one of the ASPCA's secure facilities out of state or to an ASPCA partner agency in the state.

Kavars’ attorney, Michael Byrne, said she wanted the animals to stay together in Iowa and also requested the opportunity to visit the animals before their possible move. Krull allowed her to see the animals if they were to be moved.

According to documents filed Jan. 1 by Beenken, the ASPCA was able to renew the lease and the animals were not moved. As a result, Kavars did not get to see the animals as it was not part of the court order, Beenken said. Byrne claims that Kavars was refused access to them.

Beenken argues that allowing Kavars to inspect the animals is not authorized or mandated by Iowa Law.

Beenken also said the county would agree to allow Kavars to choose a veterinarian to inspect the cat at her cost but stipulates that Kavars should not be there as she is not a licensed veterinarian.

Beenken requested that a ruling on this issue should be deferred until the court decides if the animals are threatened.

Krull has not ruled on either issue as of Thursday afternoon.

Photos: Inside the kennels, home of a North Iowa woman accused of running a puppy mill

Contact Courtney at 641-421-0534 or on Twitter @CourtneyFiorini.



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