Nearly 1,000 animals taken from home

Posted at 10:08 PM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 22:08:50-05

VINTON, IA (KWWL/CNN) - Officials are calling an apparent animal hoarding situation one of the largest animal rescues in eastern Iowa. 

Nearly 1,000 small animals were pulled from a home.

The woman who owns the home claimed she runs a rescue for guinea pigs. She said many of the animals came to her with injuries. 

The situation was described as "floor to ceiling, every wall covered, you know, tables covered with kennels and Rubbermaid totes and boxes just full of animals everywhere," said Preston Moore, director of development and community outreach at Cedar Valley Humane Society.

Many of those animals are now being housed and cared for at the humane society.

"So far, the veterinarian that's examined the animals has seen a large number of, you know, fungal infections on the animals' skin, and that is indicative that the animals have spent a lot of time in kennels with feces and urine and just general dirty conditions," Moore said.

He said some were even living among the dead.

"There were a few animals in cages that had been dead for quite some time," Moore said. "One live rabbit was in a kennel with a dead rabbit, and we're assuming that live rabbit had had no access to food for quite awhile because it had started to eat the remains of the other rabbit."

As the survivors get the care they need, the humane society is asking for donations, from cages to paper bedding. Many people have chipped in already.

Meanwhile, police continue to investigate.

The homeowner, Barbara Galkowski, defended herself.

"I do run a guinea pig rescue program, and I just brought in over 200 guinea pigs, which is a lot of what they're freaking out about is me trying to shovel and juggle all of these animals, find them homes, get a lot of them medical treatment," she said.

Humane society officials said Galkowski was administering her own surgeries on the animals.

She said four children that were also living in the house are now with a family friend.  

Police are still investigating and have not filed any charges against her. 

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