Animal torture case in Jones County brings advocates to ask for stricter animal abuse laws

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:18 PM CDT
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JONES COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Some are arguing Iowa needs better regulations for animal abusers following an animal torture case in Jones County.

Last month, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed changes to Iowa law on charges for animal abuse and torture. Those changes went into effect on July 1. One family and leaders with the Humane Society of the United States said the state code is not strong enough.

Now that family has hidden an abused dog to protect him from going back to an alleged animal abuser.

Thomas Hand of Jones County has been charged with first-offense animal torture and animal abuse, both of them are aggravated misdemeanors.

For Molly Crowley, she and her family have a few dogs, but one of their newest family friends is missing.

“Any time I can help out with anything, I always lend a hand,” Crowley said.

It was her willingness to help that led her family to come to foster Drax, a dog at the center of an animal torture case, temporarily taken from Hand following charges of torture and abuse.

“The fact that it’s even possible to allow any animal to go back to a family that has done such damage, is ridiculous,” Crowley said.

On June 29, House File 737 became law, adopting clearer charges for such charges. Preston Moore with the Humane Society of the United States argues the law does not go far enough.

“We continue to see these types of crimes in the state of Iowa be committed and not have a label to match those crimes,” Moore said. “Iowa right now is the only state in the country without an automatic felony charge for animal torture.”

There is also nothing in state code that keeps someone convicted of an animal abuse crime from getting their pet back.

While the case is still ongoing, when Crowley heard she may have to give Drax back, she took matters into her own hands.

“We currently don’t know exactly where the dog is. It’s in an undisclosed location. We got the dog out of here for our family’s safety for right now until the court preceding continues,” Crowley said.

When asked if Crowley hid the dog, she said: “We did have the dog up until the other day.”

Moore said he does not condone hiding the dog, but would like to see the county attorney take action to take the dog from the alleged abusers home.

“I’m hopeful that the county attorney is looking at some other avenues to explore for this and we’ll have to really see how that plays out over the next couple of weeks,” Moore said.

As for Crowley, she says it is her goal to protect Drax, serving as the voice that he does not have.

“I’m a healer,” Crowley said. “I want to try and solve everything and I know I can’t. But Drax can’t speak for himself and he needs somebody that can speak for him.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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