Lee County couple plead guilty to animal neglect charges

ARGYLE, Iowa (KWQC) — A rural Lee County couple pleaded guilty earlier this month in an animal neglect investigation.

Lee County court records show David and Gina Sams, 42 and 47 respectively, pleaded guilty to four counts of animal neglect, a misdemeanor, on August 3.

They received 40 suspended prison sentences and one year probation.

As a condition of probation, they have agreed to a random inspection of their property by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department and will not raise any animals for sale.

However, if the couple intends to raise animals during their probationary period, they must apply for a license from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Stewardship and will be subject to the supervision required by the ministry.

They were also ordered to pay $11,260.38 in restitution.

According to an affidavit of arrest:

On February 11, David Sams sold seven German Shepherds to Keokuk Animal Services Partners in Rescue for $150 per dog.

The dogs included three 8-month-old males, one 6-month-old male and three 6-month-old females.

The dogs were from two separate litters that Gina Sams had been trying to sell since November.

All seven dogs were examined by a veterinarian, who found that the animals were underweight, had feces in their fur and pale gums, and needed extensive deworming.

One of the 8-month-old male dogs weighed 31 pounds. The average weight of an 8 month old male is 64 pounds.

Investigators believed that the dogs did not have access to an adequate quantity or quality of food to meet their basic nutrition.

Investigators also found that the dogs were not properly cared for to avoid adverse health effects due to unsanitary conditions and excessive animal waste, according to the affidavit.

On February 22, the Lee County Criminal Investigation Division searched the couple’s home in the 1800 block of 340th Street in rural Argyle.

According to a press release, several types of animals have been found and their well-being has been checked by a veterinarian. The couple were told to clean and organize the property and to start reducing the number of animals on the property to ensure they were kept safe and humanely.

A follow-up search was carried out on March 15 to ensure the welfare of the animals on the property was being kept lawfully, as discussed with the couple, according to the statement. The couple were taken into custody the same day.

The remaining animals were handed over and turned over to the Animal League of Iowa. Animals include dogs, cats, goats, horses, donkeys, ducks, chickens, geese, peacocks, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, hedgehogs, lizards and chinchillas, depending on the communicated.

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