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Camden McCulloch, 2, plays with toy trains at the Waterloo Public Library with his mom, Libbie, on Monday morning. Libbie McCulloch brings Camden to the library every week. "There are new toys to play with and during story time they are introduced to new books," said McCulloch.

Court testimony: Decrepit conditions at kennel where Samoyeds seized (PHOTOS)

NORTHWOOD — A Worth County deputy who visited an alleged puppy mill described the filthy conditions at a court hearing Monday.

Deputy Andy Grunhovd had been visiting Barbara Kavars at her property in rural Manly every few months since March at the request of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and the Humane Society of North Iowa.

The Worth County Sheriff’s Office during a search Nov. 12 seized 154 Samoyeds and four cats from Kavars’ property, citing animal neglect. Kavars has not been charged with a crime, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says charges are pending.

Several of the seized dogs were brought to the Cedar Bend Humane Society in Waterloo and are being placed in new homes.

Kavars has asked the court allow her to keep nine of the dogs and four cats, which are being cared for by the ASPCA and several Humane Societies. Kavars said she didn’t neglect the animals, according to court documents.

Grunhovd testified Kavars told him during the winter the Samoyeds didn’t get water every day because they would eat snow and ice instead.

ASPCA Investigator Kyle Held said the dogs’ frozen water buckets contained deep lick marks, meaning the dogs were working hard to get water.

“I made a mental note to myself because I’ve only seen this a couple of times before,” Held testified. “The water had been frozen for so long you could see lick marks — holes — several inches deep.”

In March, Grunhovd said, three dogs needed immediate attention — one with a skin condition and two others that needed surgery.

“She didn’t think they (dogs) were that bad,” he testified.

One was treated, the other was given to the Humane Society and the third died after surgery, Grunhovd said.

Kavars’ husband died in June 2017, and she told the deputy things had “gotten bad the in the past year,” Grunhovd testified.

He said the dogs had limited water in April and May. In July, he said their kennels were filled with feces.

Kavars repeatedly told him she wanted to get rid of some dogs, Grunhovd testified, but every time she let go of a few of them, more puppies were born.

ASPCA forensic veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Pearlman said 16 of the Samoyeds seized were pregnant. About 37 puppies have been born in the ASPCA’s care since the seizure, Pearlman said, and six of the pregnant dogs have not delivered yet.

In October, Grunhovd found the kennels had been scraped, but the dogs had very little kibble. In November, Kavars was dragging a tarp through the center of the yard when he visited.

Inside the tarp was an injured dog Kavars needed help loading to take to the vet in Forest City. In the past, Grunhovd said Kavars told him she had trouble catching the dogs and wanted high school boys to volunteer for the task.

“I wasn’t sure if it was dead or alive, then it lifted its head up,” Grunhovd said.

The dog, which Grunhovd testified smelled of feces, was caked in mud and had an open wound on its back. It died within two days.

Held, the ASPCA investigator, said kennels contained several inches to feet of compacted straw saturated with urine and feces. Live maggots also were found.

Held said sanitation was one of the biggest issues.

Since the Samoyeds’ coats are supposed to be white, the discoloration of their coats is more obvious. He said many were stained by urine from laying on the ground.

“When you look at the totality of the situation, these animals were neglected in my opinion,” he testified.

Photos of the interior of Kavars’ house were also shown in court.

Trash could be seen throughout the home, and one of the bedrooms had piles of boxes containing the ashes of cremated dogs.

“That house can’t really be cleaned,” said Grunhovd, who noted the walls inside were covered in urine and feces. “You can’t disinfect sheetrock; it’s porous.”

Kavars, who took notes throughout the hearing, will testify in this afternoon.

Magistrate Douglas Krull is expected to make a decision on Kavars’ request for custody of the 13 animals at a later date.

At Capitol, Bush saluted as 'gentle soul'

WASHINGTON — The nation’s capital embraced George H.W. Bush in death Monday with solemn ceremony and high tributes to his service and decency, as the remains of the 41st president took their place in the Capitol rotunda for three days of mourning and praise by the political elite and everyday citizens alike.

With Bush’s casket atop the Lincoln Catafalque, first used for Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 funeral, dignitaries came forward to honor the Texan whose efforts for his country extended three quarters of a century from World War II through his final years as an advocate for volunteerism and relief for people displaced by natural disaster.

President from 1989 to 1993, Bush died Friday at age 94.

In an invocation opening Monday evening’s ceremony, the U.S. House chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J Conroy, praised Bush’s commitment to public service, from Navy pilot to congressman, U.N. ambassador, envoy to China and then CIA director before being elected vice president and then president.

“Here lies a great man,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and “a gentle soul. ... His legacy is grace perfected.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell also spoke. President Donald Trump did not attend, but he and first lady Melania Trump came to the Capitol later Monday to pay tribute. They stood in front of the casket with their eyes closed for a few moments, before Trump saluted the casket.

Political combatants set aside their fights to honor a Republican who led in a less toxic era and at times found commonality with Democrats despite sharp policy disagreements. Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, past and incoming House speaker, exchanged a warm hug with George W. Bush and came away dabbing her face. Bush himself seemed to be holding back tears.

Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, placed wreaths in the short ceremony before the rotunda was to be opened to the public. It was to remain open overnight.

Sent off from Texas with a 21-gun salute, Bush’s casket was carried to Joint Base Andrews outside the capital city aboard an aircraft that often serves as Air Force One and designated “Special Air Mission 41” in honor of Bush’s place on the chronological list of presidents. His eldest son, former President George W. Bush, and others from the family traveled on the flight from Houston.

Cannon fire roared again outside the Capitol as the sun sank and the younger President Bush stood with his hand over his heart, watching the casket’s procession up the steps.

Bush was remembered just feet away from what he called “Democracy’s front porch,” the west-facing steps of the Capitol where he was sworn in as president.

He will lie in state in the Capitol for public visitation through Wednesday. An invitation-only funeral service, which the Trumps will attend, is set for Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

Although Bush’s funeral services are suffused with the flourishes accorded presidents, by his choice they will not include a formal funeral procession through downtown Washington.

On Sunday, students, staff and visitors had flocked to Bush’s presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M University, with thousands of mourners paying their respects at a weekend candlelight vigil at a nearby pond and others contributing to growing flower memorials at Bush statues at both the library and a park in downtown Houston.

“I think he was one of the kindest, most generous men,” said Marge Frazier, who visited the downtown statue Sunday while showing friends from California around.

After services in Washington, Bush will be returned to Houston to lie in repose at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church before burial Thursday at his family plot on the library grounds. His final resting place will be alongside Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years who died in April, and Robin Bush, the daughter they lost to leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

Trump has ordered the federal government closed Wednesday for a national day of mourning. Flags on public buildings are flying at half-staff for 30 days.

Bush’s passing puts him back in the Washington spotlight after more than two decades living the relatively low-key life of a former president. His death also reduces membership in the ex-presidents’ club to four: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One of Bush’s major achievements was assembling the international military coalition that liberated the tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait from invading neighbor Iraq in 1991. The war lasted just 100 hours. He also presided over the end of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.

He was denied a second term by Arkansas Gov. Clinton, who would later become a close friend. The pair worked together to raise tens of millions of dollars for victims of a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and of Hurricane Katrina, which swamped New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

“Who would have thought that I would be working with Bill Clinton of all people?” he joked in 2005.

In a recent essay, Clinton declared of Bush: “I just loved him.”

Cedar Falls Council won’t create 5-year public safety plan

CEDAR FALLS — The City Council on Monday night voted not to create a five-year public safety plan.

The plan was suggested by at-large council member Rob Green to be adopted immediately. Green previously pushed for the plan at goal-setting sessions in November. He was the sole vote for the plan.

Council members Tom Blanford, Susan DeBuhr and Mark Miller voiced concerns about Green’s push for a five-year Public Safety Department plan when it was rejected during goal setting.

“The strategic plan was brought forth to goal setting this year, and did not have council support,” Miller said. “(City) staff puts their yearly plan together based on what we decide are the key goals of the year.”

Miller said he was frustrated by comments Green made to the media saying the city has misled citizens about aspects of the public safety debate.

“I have a number of questions and concerns about it. One primarily on my mind, to be frank with you, is the statement that you made when making the referral. It referenced that you perceived some misinformation or untruthful information from both sides,” Blanford said. “To be quite honest with you, I find that very concerning. To accuse a democratically elected body and its staff of providing false information is, in my mind, a pretty serious statement.”

Blanford urged Green to bring any false statements before the council immediately.

Green responded saying he wants to see public safety goals put into a solid and simple plan.

“I’m just looking for consolidation of something that’s easily packageble to the public,” Green said.

Miller countered there has been plenty of discussion about the public safety model.

“I feel like we’ve had these discussions frequently,” Miller said.

Every council member except 3rd Ward Council member Daryl Kruse pushed back against Green’s plan.

Green said his request reflects how he sees the role of the council.

“I just don’t believe that we’re supposed to support the model; we direct that model,” Green said. “For me as a new council member to be asked to support a new model, I want to make sure I understand what that model is in its entirety.”

Green said he has sat down Public Safety Director Jeff Olson three times.

“This isn’t coming ignorance,” Green said. “I promise you.”

The council Monday also voted to certify a list of eight Public Safety Officer candidates. Cedar Falls can hire officers from that list as the need arises. It was approved by the Civil Service Commission last week despite a protest from the firefighter’s union.

“We can only hire from that list until that list is exhausted — which means, they’re all hired, take a job somewhere else or just aren’t available to be hired,” Olson said.

“If we do make that offer, it’s a conditional offer,” Olson said. “Then they have to pass a another series of tests.”

Those tests include a polygraph, personality inventory test and a physical. The candidates have already been through a written and physical fitness test.

“It’s a list that we can hire from,” Olson said.

Trade truce sends US stocks higher

A welcome “truce” in the escalating U.S.-China trade dispute put investors in a buying mood Monday, sending U.S. stocks solidly higher and extending the market’s gains from last week.

The broad rally, which lost some of its early morning momentum, followed gains in overseas markets as investors welcomed news of the 90-day stand-down, which was agreed to over dinner between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit over the weekend.

The long-running dispute between the world’s two largest economies has rattled investors for months, stoking traders’ fears it could begin dragging down corporate profits and weighing on global economic growth.

“We’re going to have to see what happens over these 90 days,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “In the meantime, you’re not getting an increase in the tariffs, so that’s an interim positive.”

The encouraging development on trade helped extend a swift turnaround for the market, which notched its biggest weekly gain in nearly seven years last week after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated the central bank might consider a pause in rate hikes next year while it gauges the impact of its credit tightening program.

Technology stocks, automakers, retailers and industrial companies accounted for much of the market’s gains Monday, offsetting losses in household goods makers. Energy stocks also climbed as U.S. crude oil prices rose sharply.

U.S. traders observed a moment of silence before markets opened Monday in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday at 94. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq said they will close trading Wednesday in observance of a national day of mourning for Bush. The federal government will also be closed.

The S&P 500 index climbed 30.20 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,790.37. The benchmark index vaulted 4.9 percent last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 287.97 points, or 1.1 percent, to 25,826.43. The average was up as much as 441 points earlier.

The Nasdaq composite rose 110.98 points, or 1.5 percent, to 7,441.51. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 15.69 points, or 1 percent, to 1,548.96.

Markets in Europe also finished higher. Germany’s DAX gained 1.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.2 percent.

After a steep decline in October, U.S. stocks steadied in early November. But the selling picked up again as investors abandoned high-flying technology stocks amid concerns over the U.S.-China trade tussle and slowing global economic growth and bailed on energy stocks as the price of oil plummeted.

Presidents Trump and Xi of China met at the G-20 summit over the weekend and agreed to a cease-fire, lasting for at least 90 days, to allow time to smooth out a dispute over Chinese technology policies that the U.S. and other trading partners consider predatory.

Trump agreed to hold off on plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, which were supposed to kick in on Jan. 1. In return, Xi agreed to buy a “very substantial amount” of agricultural, energy and industrial products from the U.S. to reduce its large trade deficit with China, the White House said.

The U.S. had announced tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports this year, with the tax rate on many products set to rise Jan. 1, while China put new taxes on $110 billion in U.S. goods.

While the truce has the potential to steady markets through the end of the year, the countries still need to hammer out a lasting trade deal.

“Three months is not a very long time to achieve this so there are naturally plenty of skeptics out there, but this is a rare piece of good news in a conflict that has yet to produce any,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Still, Beijing gave no sign Monday of a changed stance on technology ambitions Washington says violate Chinese market-opening obligations and might threaten U.S. industrial leadership.

Trump’s complaints strike at the heart of the ruling Communist Party’s state-led economic model and plans to restore China to its rightful place as a political and culture leader by creating global champions in robotics and other fields.

“It’s impossible for China to cancel its industry policies or major industry and technology development plans,” said economist Cui Fan of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Late Sunday, Trump said on Twitter that Beijing also agreed to cut import duties on U.S. autos. There was no Chinese confirmation of the move, which would have little impact on trade because most American vehicles sold in China are made here.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters at the White House Monday there was an “an immediate focus on reducing auto tariffs,” though he did not provide details or timing. Asked if there was a specific agreement to remove the tariffs, he said: “Yes, there was.”

Yet Larry Kudlow, the top White House economic adviser, later Monday said that “We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that,” referring to the auto tariffs.

“But I will just tell you as an involved participant we expect those tariffs to go to zero,” Kudlow added in a conference call with reporters.