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'I haven't seen anything like this before': Iowa DNR investigates alleged improper dead animal disposal Dallas County horse farm

Under Iowa law, there are five ways animal carcasses can be disposed of.

DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa — A Johnston woman was charged with improperly disposing of dead animals at a horse farm in rural Dallas County. 

Local 5 looked into what animal disposal laws are on the books in Iowa. 

Under Iowa law, there are five ways animal carcasses can be disposed of:

  • Bury
  • Burn
  • Compost
  • Cook
  • Dispose of the remains (Bring it to a landfill that accepts animal remains)

"We allow burial, composting, incineration using an animal incinerator, some landfills except animal carcasses and then we have rendering companies that will take them," Iowa DNR Environmental Specialist Bryan Bunton said. 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources opened an investigation into horses owned by Linda Kilbourne after they got a report horses were being left to decompose in the field. 

RELATED: Neighbors say 60+ horses aren’t being cared for, keep escaping in Dallas County

"When an animal's just left out on a field like that, that doesn't fit into any of these categories so we would consider that to be improper disposal," Bunton said. 

Bunton conducted the DNR's investigation into the Kilbourne horses. 

Bunton said he surveyed the land from an adjoining field and saw four decomposing horses and two piles of horse bones. 

RELATED: ‘There is something wrong here’: More voice concerns about 60+ horses at Dallas County farm

"I haven't seen anything like this before," Bunton said. "In our field office, we have received complaints regarding the burning of carcasses and we do get improper disposal complaints. It's not completely uncommon, but I haven't personally been on a site where I've observed four animal carcasses like that, plus the additional horse bones."

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship also started an investigation into the farm after a neighbor complained. 

"A livestock inspector was sent out to investigate but IDALS lacked authority to enter the property," IDALS Communications Director Keely Coppess said in an email. "The livestock inspector observed from adjoining land what appeared to be a large animal carcass and bones."

IDALS said they reached out to the animal owner and the landowner several times but never heard back. 

They followed up with local authorities about the improper disposal of dead animals. 

Iowa law states that a person has 24 hours to dispose of a dead animal on their property. 

RELATED: Iowa DNR, Department of Ag investigating rural Dallas County horse farm after getting reports of burned horse carcasses

RELATED: Charges filed against Dallas County horse owner

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