Rescue dogs

Cedar Bend Humane Society Helps Rescue Dogs and Cats in Alta Vista Neglect Investigation | Crime and courts

ALTA VISTA — Authorities rescued dozens of animals and found several dead while investigating a report of animal neglect at a rural property in Alta Vista this week.

A total of 23 dogs and five cats were removed from the home at 1660 130th St., according to the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office. Four other dogs were found dead.

The Cedar Bend Humane Society assisted the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department in seizing animals from the hoarding situation.

The pets have been turned over to the Cedar Bend Humane Society in Waterloo and officials continue to work to find the placement of geese, ducks and chickens that were also on the property.

The address is owned by Dianne Williams and MPs met Derek Burton, who lives at the address. Authorities were notified of the conditions on May 18, and on Monday Williams voluntarily returned all animals from the property, according to the sheriff’s office.

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No arrests have been made and criminal charges are currently pending as the investigation continues.

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Rescuers wore protective suits and breathing masks to enter the house, where most dogs were kept in crates piled in their own waste. Some animals were free. “It was one of the worst unsanitary places I’ve ever been to,” said CBHS chief executive Kristy Gardner.

“Nearly half of the dogs are between 10 and 14 years old and range from Great Dane mixes, terrier mixes, border collie mixes, Shar-Pei mixes, Chihuahuas, a beagle and more. The youngest is about four months old,” Gardner said.

Gardner said medical staff and CBHS veterinarian Dr. Kent Melick will spend the next few days evaluating each animal for their medical needs.

“They were so terrified when we brought them here and settled in for the night. Most of them had a good body weight – none were emaciated, but I don’t know if they got constant food and they lived in filth – urine was stained and feces stuck on it”, Gardner said.

In addition to being washed and dehaired, the animals will be sterilized, vaccinated, treated against parasites and tested for heartworm. Many need dental care. Several young dogs will be closely monitored as they may have been exposed to canine parvovirus.

“A couple of female dogs appear to be pregnant, but we’ll know more after assessments,” Gardner said.

She described the process as “a big undertaking. Once the evaluations are complete and all medical conditions are addressed, we will begin the process of finding new homes for each of them and getting them adopted. The older ones, in particular, deserve to spend whatever time they have left in a loving, clean home.”

Donations are accepted to help cover medical costs and can be made online at

The Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office was also assisted by the New Hampton Veterinary Clinic, the Chickasaw County Rescue Team, the Alta Vista Fire Department, and the Chickasaw County District Attorney’s Office.

Writer Jeff Reinitz contributed to this report.