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Carcasses dumped in Des Moines River

Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 11:13 a.m. CDT

OTTUMWA (MCT) — The Blackhawk access off Quincy Avenue is not one of the more pleasant places in Ottumwa.

The dirt road into the boat ramp could challenge any of Ottumwa’s streets for the most potholes. A stream joins the Des Moines River to the north, but there is open ground to the south as far as the railroad bridge to Turkey Island. That open ground is covered in bottles, old tires, old campfires and assorted trash.

But the worst is on the river’s edge near the bridge. At least a dozen animal carcasses have been skinned and tossed onto the riverbank.

Teeth on some of the skulls show the animals ate meat, though it’s not entirely clear what species they were or if they are all the same. The emerging consensus appears to be that they belonged to raccoons.

Nor is it clear what the consequences would be if the person who dumped the carcasses is found.

The site is within Ottumwa city limits — barely. The Ottumwa Police Department did not respond to calls seeking comment.

The city does have an ordinance that appears to cover disposal of animals. Section 18-4, part of the city’s ordinance on health and sanitation, states:

“No offal, garbage or other wastes from any creamery, factory, shop, chickenhouse, slaughterhouse, tannery, hotel, boardinghouse, restaurant, laundry, meat market or private residence or any other source shall be thrown or deposited upon any lot or land or into any ravine or open ditch, stream, or pond or upon any land adjoining which is subject to overflow.”

It’s also a violation of state law. Dead animal disposal is covered in the Iowa Administrative code for agriculture and land stewardship, and the way the carcasses were left is unquestionably a violation: “All persons are strictly forbidden to throw the carcass of any animal into any river, stream, lake or pond or bury the carcass of any animal near any stream or tile drain.”


©2014 the Ottumwa Courier (Ottumwa, Iowa)

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