DALLAS COUNTY — More people are coming forward with information about a horse farm in rural Dallas County with more than 60 horses.
Raven Madison helped at the farm from July 2018 to February 2019.
While she didn’t want to leave the horses, she said she had to for health reasons.
“I was frustrated because there wasn’t enough resources being provided to me to care for horses the way I knew that they should be cared for,” Madison said. “I knew that I was leaving all of those horses in a place where they weren’t going to get taken care of.”
Madison said she’s concerned the horses aren’t getting the proper nutrition or vet care.
She, and others, also said the horses frequently escape.
“It is daily that these horses are breaking out of the fence because they are not getting enough to eat,” Madison said. “They are getting into other people’s yards and doing damage, which to some people, it may be a small thing, but it just goes to prove the point that there is a bigger issue here. All of it adds up to – there is something wrong here.”
People that live in the area call police when they see the horses roaming around.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office reported 97 calls for service since June 2016
- 82 animal and livestock complaints
- 6 animal control calls
- 3 trespassing reports
- 2 reports of suspicious activity
Local 5 reached out to the owner of the horses. She hung up when she was informed the call was being recorded.
Iowa has civil law addressing livestock that trespass on neighboring lands and roadways. If there are multiple reports, the landowner can be required to build a fence. If they don’t, the local government can step in and build one themselves at the landowner’s expense.
A habitual trespass occurs when livestock trespasses from the land where the livestock are kept onto the land of a neighboring landowner or strays from the land where the livestock are kept onto a public road, and on three or more separate occasions within the prior twelve-month period the same or different livestock kept on that land have trespassed onto the land of the same neighboring landowner or strayed from the land where the livestock are kept onto the same public road.
1. The local authority upon its own initiative or upon receipt of a complaint shall determine whether livestock are trespassing or straying from the land where the livestock are kept onto a public road, and make a record of its findings.
2. a. Once a habitual trespass occurs, a neighboring landowner may request that the responsible landowner of the land where the trespassing or stray livestock are kept erect or maintain a fence on the land. The neighboring landowner shall make the request to the responsible landowner in writing. The responsible landowner may compel an adjacent landowner to contribute to the erection or maintenance of the fence as provided in chapter 359A.
b. If the responsible landowner does not erect or maintain a fence within thirty days after receiving the request, the neighboring landowner may apply to the fence viewers as provided in chapter 359A as if the matter were a controversy between the responsible landowner and an adjacent landowner, and the matter shall be resolved by an order issued by the fence viewers, subject to appeal, as provided in chapter 359A. The neighboring landowner shall be a party to the controversy as if the neighboring party were an adjacent landowner. The neighboring landowner is not liable for erecting or maintaining the fence, unless the neighboring landowner is an adjacent landowner who is otherwise required to make a contribution under chapter 359A.
3. If the fence is not erected or maintained as required in section 359A.6, and upon the written request of the board of township trustees, the board of supervisors of the county where the fence is to be erected or maintained shall act in the same manner as the board of township trustees under that section, including by erecting or maintaining the fence, ordering payment from a defaulted party, and certifying an amount due to the county treasurer in the same manner as in section 359A.6. The amount due shall include the total costs required to erect or maintain the fence and a penalty equal to five percent of the total costs. The amount shall be placed upon the county system and collected in the same manner as ordinary taxes. Upon certification to the county treasurer, the amount assessed shall be a lien on the parcel until paid.Iowa Code 169C.6 | Habitual Trespass