UPDATE: Owner defends having hundreds of animals in Vinton home following rescue

By  | 

VINTON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Vinton Police said four children were living in the house where the Cedar Valley Humane Society has removed about 1,000 animals.

The Cedar Valley Humane Society took in about 1,000 animals found inside this house at 607 W. 6th St. in Vinton on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Four children were also found living in the house. (Samantha Myers/KCRG-TV9)

Police said the children's parents were cooperating with the Iowa Department of Human Services regarding the welfare of the children.

Around 9:10 a.m. Tuesday, the City of Vinton's building inspector and Vinton Police inspected a house at 607 West 6th Street looking for "dangerous and suspicious animals."

Officers found hundreds of animals inside the house and a detached garage. That included rabbits, rats, mice, hedgehogs, chinchillas, turtles, fish, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and a ball python.

The owner watched while they pulled the animals out. She says she is justified having that many animals

"If they can't handle them, why are they taking them? We have newborn babies who are going to die. We have pregnant moms who are going to abort or are going to die. They can't handle the stress of this," Babs Galkowski said.

Officers also found several dead animals scattered through the residence in various states of decomposition or stored in a freezer.

Volunteers from the Cedar Valley Humane Society, Friends of the Shelter, and Wild Thunder Animal Rescue removed animals all day. A veterinarian said many of the animals were malnourished, dehydrated, and living in overcrowded conditions heavily contaminated with excessive amounts of fecal matter.

"It's wrong it's inhumane the animals shouldn't have been in the conditions that they were in. it's just wrong," CVHS director Preston Moore said.

A neighbor said she moved in recently, the house sold the day before Halloween, and in the few months she lived there, neighbors didn't notice anything odd.

"It just seems crazy and they've been very quiet the house hasn't, they haven't lived there very long," Carla Woods said.

Galkowski says there's an explanation for all the dead animals found frozen. They're food for other animals.

"We do have some bodies of animals that have passed they're in my freezer I have animals in there that I go to the raptor project with that feed raptors in Minnesota," Galkowski said.

The Cedar Valley Humane Society also said Galkowski was performing do-it-yourself surgeries- spaying and neutering her animals. She denied that.

She says she plans to fight this in court- so she gets her animals back.

"They just took my kids entire life away and they don't seem to be giving me much of a cause either," Galkowski said.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are possible.

Many people have reached out to TV9 saying that Babs, the owner of the house, also owns a horse rescue called Rocket Ministries. The Cedar Valley Humane Society says it is also looking into the well-being of those horses.

The Cedar Valley Humane Society is asking for donations- including money, animal cages, beds and food.

Slide show: Look inside the house through photos supplied by the Cedar Valley Humane Society. WARNING: You may find some images disturbing.
_______________
PREVIOUS STORY:

The Cedar Valley Humane Society is dealing with perhaps the largest animal rescue it has ever seen.

Law Enforcement is still investigating the home in Vinton where the Humane Society says it is removing hundreds and hundreds of animals in "terrible" conditions.

The Humane Society expects it'll take in more than 1,000 of those animals.

Workers say the animals were found in unfit living conditions; with no water or food and living with decomposing animal bodies.

"The smell... the empty or dirty food and water bowls... dead animals in cages with living ones. Rotting food. Animals with "DIY surgery" in progress," Cedar Valley Humane Society says in an email asking for urgent donations to help care for the animals.

Workers say their first step will be to get the animals out of the cages and into larger living spaces.

"We are going to be very creative, we do have some spaces here in the building that we use for animal quarantine or for stray cats is an example that has some blank floor space. So we'll be able to rearrange some things. We'll make it work," Director Preston Moore said.

The Cedar Valley Humane Society is asking for donations- including money, animal cages, beds and food.

Read the original version of this article at www.kcrg.com.