Some Dogs Returning to Jones County Kennel After Seizure

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By Chris Earl

JONES COUNTY - The dogs are trickling back to Harold "Buzz" Powell's Thunder Ridge Kennel, near Wyoming in Jones County.

But that doesn't mean Powell wants to go get them.

"We're not driving all over Iowa to pick up our dogs," said Powell on Tuesday morning. "They came and seized our dogs. We feel they should bring our dogs back."

On March 15, the Jones County sheriff's office executed a search warrant after numerous complaints about the condition of the dogs -- the next day volunteers, with area rescue groups distributed the dogs to shelters and foster homes.

The number of dogs seized is in some dispute. Powell said 72 were taken. Jones County assistant county attorney Emily Stork said 65 were seized.

Stork said today the veterinarian's decision to take so many dogs that night may have been "a little quick" and "there was pressure" that evening.

She added that, in the veterinarian's professional opinion, "47 of these dogs really do not meet the term 'threatened animal', meaning they are getting adequate food and shelter'."

Both Stork and Last Hope Animal Rescue director Sonia Brandley said today 17 dogs will not be returned at this time. A total of 47 will go back.

"This has cost us several thousand dollars," said Powell.

Stork said the dogs to be returned should be at the kennel by Thursday.

She said her office is still considering whether to file charges against Powell for the remaining 17 animals - those would be simple misdemeanors under Iowa Code 717B, Injury to Animals Other Than Livestock.

This is the full statement from the Sonia Brandley of the Last Hope Animal Rescue:

"It is our understanding from speaking with the county attorney's office that an agreement has been reached that 17 dogs will remain in the care of the rescue organization, while 48 will be returned pursuant to the agreement.

There will be a disposition hearing Monday, after which, criminal charges may or may not be filed. But it is not over yet.

We are told, as a result of these negotiations, that Mr. Powell has agreed to make significant changes to his operation and we are pleased for the animals."

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