Fort Dodge law enforcement officials have not yet determined whether charges will be filed against a woman who allegedly took in nearly 60 dogs and cats.
The animals were recovered by Fort Dodge Police Saturday from 310 and 312 G St. following allegations of animal neglect.
Property owner Kathleen Bond, 61, allegedly took in the animals and was unable to properly care for them, resulting in unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions. As many as 50 cats were found, as well as eight dogs.
The Fort Dodge Police Department has not determined if it will file charges against Bond, Police Chief Tim Carmody said.
"We don't have that determined yet," Carmody said.
The case has not been turned over to the Webster County Attorney's office.
"There's multiple charges that could come out of an incident like this," said Ryan Baldridge, assistant Webster County attorney. "I don't know enough about the fact to be able to tell you."
The Webster County Attorney's office does not have any information on the case yet, Baldridge said.
"I know that it is an ongoing investigation, and the case is going to be assigned to me once law enforcement refers it to our office," Baldridge said. "To my knowledge, it has not been referred to our office at this time."
It is not the first case of alleged animal neglect the county attorney's office has handled.
"I'm sure it's been prosecuted in the past," Baldridge said. "(Webster County Attorney Cori Kuhn Coleman) and I had a conversation yesterday where she had prosecuted people for failing to take care of horses. I'm unaware of anything in the last year involving cats and dogs."
Almost Home Humane Society of North Central Iowa was asked by the Fort Dodge Police Department to help with the recovery Saturday, but is not housing any of the animals, said Tania Elliott, shelter director.
"They all have to go through (Webster County) Animal Control," Elliott said. "Animal Control and the Police Department are handling that."
Chris Ball, Almost Home shelter manager, said such situations can become overwhelming.
"People get in a situation that is just completely beyond what one person can manage," she said. "It's not healthy for the animals. It's beyond not sanitary. It's not healthy for the animals. They don't get the care and the socialization they need. And it just becomes very overwhelming for one person to manage that many animals on their own."
This is not the first time the shelter has responded to such incidents.
"We've had several hoarding situations where we have animals and we've taken them in, and cared for them until they can find forever homes. Unfortunately, it happens more than anybody wants it to happen," Elliott said.
Such situations are born of good intentions, Ball said.
"A lot of these people start with animals that come from less than ideal situations," she said. "They're strays, or they're rescued from somebody who didn't care for them. Most people that end up in that situation don't do it because it's a trophy, it's because they honestly love those animals and they're trying to help them. And they just get overwhelmed."