Judge rules animals will not be returned to Manly woman

Published 4:24 pm Monday, January 7, 2019

The owner of the Manly, Iowa, commercial breeding facility will not be allowed to have nine dogs and three cats seized in November returned to her. 

Magistrate Judge Douglas Krull ruled Monday the animals Barb Kavars sought to have back were threatened and allowed Worth County Sheriff Dan Fank to decide the future of the seized animals.

Kavars, owner of White Fire Kennels, had sought the animals back after they were seized in a Nov. 12 search warrant that also included the removal of 154 Samoyeds.

Email newsletter signup

In a 12-page civil ruling, Krull ruled Worth County met its burden of proof that the animals were neglected because Kavars “failed to provide the confined animals with sufficient quantity of food and failed to provide the confined animals with sufficient quantity of water.”

Krull ruled Kavars did not take adequate steps to stop dog fighting at her facility.

“Animals were confined, injured because of the confinement, and left in horrid, filthy conditions,” he wrote.

To Krull, Kavars did not provide adequate shelter as evidenced by her failure to maintain pens, causing the dogs to be subject to attacks by other dogs and live in unhealthy conditions, “either being in urine-soaked bedding, having fecal-matted fur, aggravated fur, aggravated breathing from high levels of ammonia or muddy pens.”

The judge wrote the animals did not receive adequate veterinary care.

“Repeatedly, dogs were found to be underwatered, underfed and injured because of fighting,” Krull said.

A two-day trial in the case was last month.

The ruling included a summary of the events leading up to Krull’s decision.

“The determination was made by all persons on the scene, including the on-site veterinarian, that all of the animals, including both those that were relinquished and the animals remaining, were threatened animals that were in danger based upon the totality of the circumstances, including lack of food, water, filthy kennels packed with feces and urine, urine-soaked pee pads and the excessive and extremely strong smell of ammonia resulting from the urine, along with the irritation caused by the same,” Krull wrote.

Kavars raised Samoyed puppies at the facility over the last 20 years, with the number of dogs increasing over the last several years. Court documents state the number of dogs on-site increased from 29 in September 2016 to 89 in April, in addition to 85 puppies. 

Of the relinquished animals, 16 were pregnant and 37 puppies had been born since the seizure and the time of the trial, court documents state. Six pregnant dogs had not yet delivered.

The conditions of the animals has reportedly improved since they were seized from White Fire Kennels.

Kavars’ husband, who used to operate the facility with her, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in January 2014 and died in June 2017.

Kavars said after her husband’s death, she became more overwhelmed in taking care of the dogs.

The Worth County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint regarding the conditions of the dogs in March, including that they were deprived of food, water and adequate shelter and that it was a possible hoarding situation.

Krull wrote Kavars was incorrect about the conditions her animals were living in.

“The court, as the finder of fact, determines that Kavars either is being untruthful regarding the condition and her care of the animals, or she does not comprehend the actual conditions which were in existence at the kennel and the status of the dogs and pups in her care,” he wrote.

Any appeal Kavars files must be done within 20 days.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Sam