Randy Garien  and Pam Garien

55 animals seized

Maquoketa, IA Jackson County

July 25, 2006

In an animal neglect investigation in Jackson County, authorities rescued 55 animals from the Garien farm  at 24922 81st St., that included cougars and a black bear. The 6-year old bear was found in a cage covered in an inch of fecal matter.  It was confined in a 10 foot by 10 foot, 4 inch enclosure but had not been out of it for 3 years.  The bear showed evidence of neglect and had a broken tooth.

  (Photo courtesy of the Quad City Times)  On July 26th the black bear was sedated and sent to a veterinarian in the Quad Cities that specializes in large animals.  He was later moved to a new home in Shueyville.  No charges were filed against the bear’s owner.

Jackson County authorities state they are considering implementing an exotic animal ordinance after a 900-lb black bear, four cougars and dozens of other animals were rescued from a rural Maquoketa farm on July 25th.  The seizure also included two fox, two cats, eight puppies, eleven horses, twelve dogs and fifteen chickens.

Veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Doll who accompanied the deputies to the farm stated many of the animals appeared to be neglected.  The bear was found with no food or water in more than a foot of it’s own feces lining the cage.  One horse had a lacerated leg, which had not healed well.  There was minimal food and water found for the animals.  The horses had been kept in an enclosed pasture, which included glass and metal objects.

The Garien's have not been charged pending the veterinarian’s reports.  It was noted that two previous complaints were made to the Sheriff’s Department by neighbors – one in March, 2005 and another in April, 2006. No action was taken in either complaint.

Update 8/30/06:

An out-of-court settlement gave the horses and cougars back to the Garien's.  The Garien's gave up a black bear, 2 foxes, 2 cats, 8 puppies and 15 chickens.  One of the 4 cougars had died after being seized.

The settlement came without filing any charges against the Garien's because state code was not followed during the seizure.  The law requires that the owners be notified 24 hours before a seizure to allow them to correct any neglect issues.

The bill so far for the care of the animals is more than $20,000, with not all the bills in yet.

Update 9/5/06:

3 cougars, 11 horses and 12 dog have or will be returned to the Garien's as part of the agreement.  1 of the cougars, named Sheena, died of natural causes after the seizure as did a litter of puppies and a racoon.  The 8 pups died after the mother went into labor the day after the seizure - their deaths could have been because of stress or because the mother was emaciated.  A Clinton doctor reported the dogs were "excessively timid" but in good overall health

The bear, foxes, chickens and barn cats will not be returned.  The horses, which the Garien's said they were breeding part time, were in "poor" condition and neglected, according to Karla Sibert, a certified equine investigator with the Iowa Equine Rescue and Awareness League.  "Horses don't drop weight overnight," she said, adding that animals aren't seized without reason.  "There was no obvious water supply in the pasture" "There was very little food present", Sibert wrote in her report submitted to the court.

The 15 chickens were underweight and missing toes, according the the veterinarian's report.  "Many were missing large areas of feathers and had scabs and wounds on their legs, sides and backs"  "Larger feathers of the wings were broken off.  This can happen from getting caught in their cage mesh, or from chewing by the dogs."

The foxes were "nervous and aggressive" and needed dental care, deworming and vaccinations, according to a Davenport veterinarian.

The care of the horses alone as $8000 - Jackson County will likely have to pay for some of the costs because of the Garien's financial situation.

The bear has moved to a new home.

10 years ago, the Jackson County rejected a proposal to control exotic and dangerous animals.  The proposal was introduced after Tom and JoDee Marlowe opened J.T's Wild Kingdom, a small exotic animal zoo west of Maquoketa.  Over a period of several months, a cougar and 2 bears escaped from the zoo, causing fear and uproar across the county.  The County board spent 5 months drafting an ordinance addressing dangerous-animal ownership - in the end the supervisors voted 2-1 to kill the proposed ordinance.  The Marlowe's closed their zoo and sold the animals

Neighbors had reported 2 previous complaints about the Garien's farm - one in March 2005 regarding the cougars and one in April 2006 concerning no hay or water for the horses.  No action as taken in either complaint as the Garien's complied within 10 days to rectify the situation.

There is no state law or county ordinance prohibiting residents from possessing exotic animals.

Reference:

KWWL TV7

Gazette Online

Quad City Times

WHO TV

Herald Telegraph