Barbara Kavars

Barbara Kavars, 65, of Manly, appears in Worth County Magistrate Court on Tuesday regarding ownership of some of the dogs and cats seized from her property in November by law enforcement and animal welfare officials.

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FOREST CITY -- Jury selection begins today in the trial of a woman who had 154 animals were seized from a Samoyed puppy mill in Manly last year.

Barbara Kavars, 66, is being tried on 14 counts of misdemeanor animal neglect.

Puppies and adult dogs seized from Kavars' property on Nov. 12, 2018, were very thin with matted hair, and some were found to have intestinal parasites, according to court documents. 

Some of the dogs were pregnant. 

Authorities say the dogs were in kennels with feces buildup and no access to food and water. 

On Oct. 9, District Court Judge Lawrence Jahn ruled some of the evidence obtained during execution of the search warrant should be suppressed, but most of it will be admissible at trial. 

Kavars' attorney, Michael G. Byrne of Mason City, had filed a motion to suppress evidence in May, claiming no probable cause existed for the search warrant and that it was improperly and illegally executed. 

Jahn's ruling stated the wording of the search warrant "does not suggest that it was applied for in order to remove animals because their welfare was threatened."

However, Kavars did sign a document on Nov. 12 indicating she voluntarily relinquished to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals all the animals seized except for nine dogs and four cats, according to Jahn. 

Since no warrant was needed to take animals Kavars voluntarily relinquished, evidence from examination of those dogs is admissible at trial, the ruling stated.

Kavars had requested the return of the 13 animals seized on Nov. 12 that she did not voluntarily relinquish, but a magistrate refused due to the "overwhelming" evidence of neglect. 

According to Iowa Code, animal neglect charges are simple misdemeanors and, if found guilty, are punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine between $65 and $625 per count.

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