Who, age What Where When Last known address
Richard "Rex" Hale, 43 27 dogs, 2 cats, 1 rabbit seized, 8 dogs found dead

Forest City, IA

Winnebago County

August 13, 2005  
Leslie Hale, 41 27 dogs, 2 cats, 1 rabbit seized, 8 dogs found dead

Forest City, IA

Winnebago County

August 13, 2005  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
Misdemeanor fugitive from justice 35 dogs, 2 cats, 1 rabbit Alleged  

A rural Forest City couple are being sought on 25 counts of animal neglect, the Hancock County Sheriff's Department reported Monday.

Warrants were issued for Richard "Rex" Hale, 43, (DOB 8/30/63) and Leslie Hale, 41, who are believed to have fled Iowa with their two youngest children, the report stated.

Sheriff's officers discovered 38 mistreated animals at the Hale residence. Eight dogs died while confined for a lengthy period without food and water.

In addition to the dead animals, 27 dogs, two cats and one rabbit were found, most of which were in poor condition from lack of food and water.

Rex and Leslie Hale are charged with 25 counts of animal neglect, including eight serious misdemeanors and 17 simple misdemeanors. They face up to nine and a half years in jail and fines of $28,500.

The live animals were taken to the Des Moines Animal Rescue League and the Humane Society of North Iowa for temporary care and possible adoption.

Tracy Hamand, Humane Society shelter manager, said the shelter took in four dogs, Jack Russell terrier mixes and one rabbit. "They're a little hungry," she said of the dogs.

  (Photo courtesy of Arian Schuessler/The Globe Gazette - Hamand holds Diamond, one of the 38 mistreated animals rescued).

The rabbit has been adopted, she said.

Update 8/17/05:  The Boone Area Humane Society just rescued eight severely neglected dogs from Hancock County.

  (Photo courtesy of the Mid-Iowa News)  Housing each dog costs roughly $15-$16 a day. Between eight of them, that is upwards of $128 a day. Those expenses do not include the veterinary expenses, which could be astronomical since neglected animals are more likely to suffer from ear infections or even contract heartworms.

These eight dogs, all Jack Russell terriers and a few rat-terrier mixes, were rescued from a grotesque scene from Richard & Leslie Hale.  The barn contained 25 living dogs, surrounded by eight or so dead ones. The dogs had been starved, dehydrated, and neglected to the point that they were forced to resort to eating the dead dogs for food. There was three feet of dog waste under their stalls (they were kept in small water containers and horse stalls) and by the look of things, they had been neglected like this for months, if not years.

The Animal Rescue League out of Des Moines contacted the Boone Humane Society, hoping to distribute the hardship of caring for 25 animals.

Rick Carlyle director of the Boone Area Humane Society says that he needed no persuading; he took in the animals having just enough space to squeeze them in. They are small dogs, and his kennel could just manage them. If they had been German Shepards or larger canines, he could have taken far fewer.

The eight furry inmates will be kept in isolation kennels until the veterinarian determines their health and their behaviors are discerned.

Animals neglected this badly can have behavior problems, like meanness or attachment issues. However, the dogs displayed none of either, marching right up to the gate and licking human hands through the fencing.

Petting one of the dogs behind the ear, Carlyle said, "You can see they're just starving for attention."  The dogs are estimated at around six to eight years old. It is impossible at this point to say how long they were neglected, but it was certainly an enduring period of time.

The Hales most likely thought they could make money breeding Jack Russell's, and so ran a "backyard breeding" operation, quick profits overshadowing animal welfare.

Depending on the veterinarian's findings, the animals will be up for adoption soon. There is apprehension that a few of them will have heartworm. Heartworm can be fatal for dogs, and the treatment can cost anywhere from $200-$800. The Humane Society does not have the kind of funds to pay for such care. The inflicted dogs would have to be put down unless someone was willing to sponsor them, covering the medical bills.

Update 8/18/05:  Criminal animal cruelty charges are pending against Richard "Rex" Hale, 43, and Leslie Hale, 41, of rural Forest City.

Warrants will be issued for the Hales, who are believed to have fled the State of Iowa with their two youngest children. They are charged with 25 counts of animal neglect. Of those charges, 8 are serious misdemeanors and 17 are simple misdemeanors.  The Hales are believed to be in Oregon.

According to a release from the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, authorities from that department discovered 38 mistreated animals at the Hale residence. Eight dogs died while confined for a lengthy period of time without food or water.

In addition to the dead animals, 27 dogs, 2 cats and 1 rabbit were present on the property. According to the release, most of the animals were in poor condition from alleged lack of food and water. The live animals were distributed to the Des Moines Animal Rescue League and the North Iowa Humane Society for temporary care and possible adoption.

If convicted, the Hales could face up to 9 1/2 years in jail and fines of up to $28,500.

Reference:

Globe Gazette

Mid-Iowa News