The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department seized more than 90 animals from a rural house northeast of Sioux City Tuesday. Deputies acting on complaints of animal abuse secured a search warrant for the home of Bonita Dow in Akron. Deputies entered the home along with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and the Siouxland Humane Society. They found 40 live dogs, eight dead dogs, 16 cats, 14 chickens, seven ducks, two burros, four goats, one rabbit and a pot-bellied pig. Animal Rescue League director Tom Colvin says they were two other animals, Macaques monkeys , were a surprise.Colvin says the animals were found living in “very filthy” conditions in the basement of the home were noone was living. He says the animals were in feces and urine soaked cages, without proper food and water, and the cages weren’t even tall enough for the animals to stand upright. Colvin says they didn’t know the monkeys were in the house, but he says exotic animals are becoming more common across Iowa. He says it’s not unusual for people to be keeping various exotic animals in their homes. He says it’s become such a concern that they plan to go to the Legislature and ask for a law to prohibit people from keeping monkeys, bears and lions as pets. Colvin says the monkeys can pose some real risk for their owners. He says they can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as: Herpes,tuberculosis, salmonella, things Colvin says people do not want to come into contact with. This is not the first case of someone taking on more animals than they can handle where authorities have to step in. He says it’s hard to understand, but it appears from past cases that people have a collector or hoarder mentality when it comes to the animals, and they consider themselves the guardian of the animals. But Colvin says the caretakers often get overwhelmed by the job. He says it gets to the point where they can’t keep up with the animals’ cleanliness and then they can’t afford the nutritional needs of the animals and then things get away from them. The Rescue League in Des Moines is taking care of the two monkeys and one dog, while the rest of the animals are in the care of the Siouxland Humane Society pending the outcome of legal action against Dow. Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says information on the case has been turned over to the county attorney — but no charges have yet been filed.
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