In one of the worst cases of animal abuse and child neglect the town has ever seen, Vinton police say that four children were living in a house with 1,000 animals, some of which were dead.
Police say the Cedar Valley Humane Society removed about 1,000 animals from the home and the children's parents were cooperating with the Iowa Department of Human Services. The City of Vinton's building inspector and Vinton Police inspected a house at 607 West 6th Street looking for "dangerous and suspicious" animals.
The inspector found the home had rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, chinchillas, turtles, fish, birds hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and a ball python. The humane officers were pulling animals out of the home for hours.
The owner says she is justified in having that many animals and she wants them back. "If they can't handle them, why are they taking them? We have newborn babies who are going to be dying. We have pregnant moms who are going to abort or are going to die. They can't handle the stress of this," Babs Galkowski, the owner of the house, said.
Officers say they also found several dead animals throughout the house in various degrees of decomposition. Some of the corpses were stored in a freezer. It took volunteers from the Cedar Valley Humane Society, Friends of the Shelter, and Wild Thunder Animal Rescue working all day to remove the animals from the residence.
Rescuers also say many animals were malnourished, dehydrated and living in overcrowded conditions that were infested with huge amounts of fecal matter. CVHS director Preston Moore said, "It's wrong, it's inhumane, the animals shouldn't have been in the conditions that they were in. It's just wrong."
Galkowski insists there is a good explanation for the dead animals in the freezer saying they are food for other animals. "We do have some bodies of animals that have passed; they're in my freezer I have animals in there that I go to the raptor project with that feed raptors in Minnesota," Galkowski said.
The Cedar Valley Humane Society accused Galkowski of performing her own do-it-yourself surgeries to spay and neuter her animals but she denies it. "They just took my kids entire life away and they don't seem to be giving me much of a cause either," Galkowski said.
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