NORTHWOOD, Iowa- Barbra Kavars, the owner of White Fire Kennel in Manly where around 154 samoyed dogs were seized on November 12, took the stand Tuesday to explain why she should have 9 dogs and four cats returned to her.
Kavars said she has been breeding dogs for around 20 years.
“We had our first litter of puppies in October of 1999,” she said in court.
She explained that she was USDA licensed and inspected until 2013 when she was told by an investigator she didn’t need the license because of the way she sold her dogs.
“I sold directly to the owner,” Kavars explained.
She was still licensed through the Iowa Department of Agriculture. She said she started breeding fulltime in 2010 after being laid off work and in 2014 her husband became ill.
“He was healthy and fine until January of 2014,” she said. “He was then diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.”
She said she started to look for help downsizing her operation because her husband did a lot of the heavy labor around the operation but was unsuccessful.
“The shelters and rescues that I called said they wouldn’t take the dogs from a breeder,” she explained.
Since 2014, she said she knew she needed help and in January of 2018 she contacted the Humane Society of North Iowa.
“I took two dogs to them the next day,” she said.
The Humane Society of North Iowa eventually contacted the Worth County Sheriff’s Office to do a welfare check on the operation. In court, the responding deputy testified that Kavars had said she doesn’t give them fresh water every day in the winter, but she said that wasn’t true.
“We walked around the dog kennels and he asked me how often I watered the dogs, and I said at least once a day,” Kavars said.
That's despite a forensic veterinarian with the ASPCA inspecting all of the dogs, including the 13 animals Kavars is looking to get back, stating that they were in poor health. Kavars disagreed.
“I had not heard of the Pedigree test,” she said. “Some of the dogs do vary in size for many different reasons,” she said.
One of those dogs she is requesting to be returned is also pregnant, which she said she didn’t know about before surrendering the dogs.
“Does the pregnancy change whether the dog should be returned?” asked her attorney. “No,” she responded.
Kavars said she would be capable of taking care of the new puppies as well as the nine dogs and four cats.
“Do you have plans to continuing to breed any of these dogs?” the attorney asked. Kavars again responded and said no.
The judge also made a decision that the 13 animals which are in the care of the ASPCA would be moved to an affiliated care facility in Iowa so the ASPCA employees can go home for the holidays. Kavars will also be allowed to see the animals before they are moved.
The judge is expected to make a decision on whether the animals should be returned in the next few weeks.
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