Vinton animal raid raises questions about state licensing

By  | 

VINTON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - It could be months before anyone can adopt any of the one thousand animals authorities rescued in Vinton.

It happened yesterday at the home of Babs Galkowski. Rescuers say the conditions inside the home were horrible. Many animals were sick, and some were dead in their cages.

Galkowski says she's done nothing wrong.

The Cedar Valley Humane Society says it has known about Galkowski for a while.

"We knew she had guinea pigs and was re-homing guinea pigs often," Cedar Valley director Preston Moore said, "we were not aware of the magnitude of the number of animals she had."

In Iowa there are licenses for people who breed, board or act as an animal dealer.

TV9 checked and found nine animal operations in Benton County with licenses. Galkowski isn't one of them.

She is the administrator on a Facebook page that buys and sells animals with multiple posts of Galkowski trying to adopt out guinea pigs for a ten dollar fee.

She also has an online store for rabbits and bunnies called Rocket Rabbitry where she sells them.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to say she was breeding animals not necessarily just for 4H shows or national guinea pig or rabbit shows to sell under the guise of re-homing," Moore said.

Tracey Belle is a director with Wildthunder Wildlife and Animal Rehabilitation Sanctuary. She had to get licenses for her facility at the state and federal levels.

"It's depends on what animals you do. We are state licensed to do domestics, we're also state licensed by DNR to do wildlife rehabilitation. We're federally licensed to do raptors and the migratory species," Belle said.

Galkowski says she was in the process of getting those licenses for being a rescue.

Although Cedar Valley is more packed with animals than it ever imagined, it's also now packed with donations. They poured in all day Wednesday.

Right now no one knows how long those animals will be there before being adopted out. It could be in a few weeks, or a few months.

At last check Vinton Police were waiting on vet records and had not filed and charges.

TV9 has also learned Galkowski is keeping 10 horses inside the city limits of Shellsburg.

The police chief says authorities have visited the horses, and determined there are no issues with their care. The city of Shellsburg has given Galkowski until next Tuesday to remove them because zoning does not permit horses inside city limits.