WORTH COUNTY, Iowa - Barbara Kavars, convicted of 14 counts of animal neglect, was sentenced Tuesday to supervised probation of no more than 2 years.
She is also prohibited from breeding/owning dogs, is facing a $65/fine on each count ($910 total), and must undergo a mental health evaluation.
Kavars testifies in her animal neglect case. Click here.
Kavars animal neglect trial begins. Click here.
Kavars charged after 154 dogs and 4 cats removed from Worth County property. Click here.
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A 30 day jail sentence per count was suspended, but if found in violation of probation, she will go to jail for 420 days.
Kavars took the stand on Tuesday, recalling how she contacted the Humane Society of North Iowa to take some of the dogs she had on the farm.
"At first they took quite a few, and I was very happy with it. It helped me a lot. But after about four months, they stopped taking my dogs. Didn't really say why, they just said they can't take anymore right now, maybe in another week or two. I kept waiting, I wanted to place more there."
Court records say Kavars was holding Samoyed dogs in inhumane conditions when officials raided her operation on Nov. 12, 2018, and visited at other times. 154 Samoyed dogs and four cats were removed from Kavars’ Manly property.
The records say the dogs had fur matted by feces, skin conditions leading to fur loss, painful wounds, intestinal parasites and other maladies.
The records also say the dogs' kennels lacked food and had water containers that were filled with ice.
Kavars denied any wrongdoing and told officials she didn't think the dogs needed additional care.
However, District Judge Lawrence Jahn says the evidence proved otherwise.
"You can't blame the Humane Society for not taking these animals. That's not their responsibility. It's your responsibility to keep these animals under control, and more importantly, to provide adequate care for them."
Sybil Soukup with the Humane Society of North Iowa, who played a big role in rescuing the dogs, says the sentence is appropriate.
"We're pleased with it. With the two years of probation that Ms. Kavars received, that means she'll be monitored for the next two years by the state to ensure that first of all, she's OK, because that's important. Secondly, that she doesn't have any more dogs on her farm in operation and restart this whole process."
And the case should also send a strong message.
"Breeders should be worried that law enforcement, courts, non-profit organizations are taking note of this and are watching over this and helping animals. I hope it encourages anyone, who is breeder or not, that's mistreating animals or not providing the care they need to clean up their act."
Judge Jahn took the stand to say a few words to those in attendance, and says his sentence is focused on the future.
"If you truly believe that you were not neglecting these animals, this sentence must do something to one, ensure your rehabilitation and also to protect the community. And most of all to ensure this doesn't happen anymore."
"I just want to get on with my life. I want to be done," Kavars added.