Animal rights activist arrested for animal neglect

Noelle Stanbridge

UPDATE- On April 1, 2011 at approximately 4:15 p.m., the Ottumwa Police Department served a court order on Noelle Stanbridge, 41, at 327 Appanoose resulting in the seizure of all animals on the premises, including 10 dogs and 7 cats.

The seizure is a result of the ongoing investigation into animal abuse that began when police obtained a video that appears to show Stanbridge striking a dog with a club at least 15 times.

Stanbridge already faces a number of charges following her arrest earlier this week.

She has 20 days to request the court return the animals to her.

If she does make such a request, a hearing will be set and both sides will present their respective cases, and the judge will then make a formal decision.

If she doesn't request them back within 20 days, the judge will most likely accept the City TMs petition to rescue the threatened animals.

In that case, the animals will be put up for adoption through the police department or a reputable animal adoption agency.

Until then, the animals will remain in the Ottumwa Police Department TMs custody.

The investigation is continuing.


UPDATE-Ottumwa Police have filed several new charges against Noelle Stanbridge.

She is now charged with seven counts of failure to license a dog and three counts of failing to vaccinate a dog. Those charges are violations of city code.

She is also charged with operating as a dealer without a license. That is is violation of Iowa State code. Each charge is a simple misdemeanor in Iowa and results in $500 fines for each charge.

Those charges stem from a search warrant served at her residence at 327 Appanoose Street on Wednesday evening.

Stanbridge was taken into custody and then released on bond. Her bond was $325.

KTVO spoke with Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark. He said the investigation is ongoing and the City Attorney is filing paperwork for a hearing to gain control of the animals.

However, he said right now they cannot legally take the animals yet.

"People need to remember they're still someone's property. We cannot just arbitrarily go seize people's property. Had there been physical injuries, that would've been a different story. We could've seized the animals due to imminent danger. However there were no injuries thankfully."

KTVO will continue to follow this developing story.


UPDATE- Ottumwa Police served yet another search warrant at the home of Noelle Stanbridge.

At about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday police officers were observed searching the home at 327 Appanooose on Ottumwa's southside.

Authorities on the scene said the search was part of the ongoing investigation into Stanbridge's treatment of the animals at her home.

They declined to say exactly what they were looking for.

Officers did not remove any animals from the home on Wednesday evening.

Police told KTVO on Tuesday after they searched the home for the first time that there were 10 dogs and four cats present.

KTVO staff were able to observe at least two dogs in a fenced in area behind the home.

Police were uncertain when they would release more information, KTVO will continue to follow this story.


UPDATE- KTVO spoke with Animal Control Officer Jeff Williams Wednesday.

Williams was the lead investigator in the animal abuse case that led to the arrest of Noelle Standbridge on Tuesday.

He says Stanbridge bonded out of jail on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday morning.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Some KTVO viewers had express concerned over the animals that remained in Stanbridge's custody.

Officers discovered 10 dogs and four cats in the house on Tuesday.

After being inspected, they all appear to be in good health.

He also said the video obtained by KTVO was from 10 days ago so any evidence of abuse on the dog seen in the video may have healed by now.

Williams also says there is no set limit as to how many animals people can own in Ottumwa. It just depends on if they can all be taken care of and if the area is properly taken care of.

Williams says the department will investigate not only the continued welfare of the animals, but also the fact that Stanbridge was apparently running an unlicensed shelter.

KTVO attempted to contact Stanbridge on Wednesday but so far she has not returned any calls.


UPDATE - KTVO acquired the tape from the Ottumwa Police Department that led to the arrest.

A self-described animal rights activist was arrested Tuesday afternoon on charges she abused at least one dog.

Noelle Stanbridge, 41, was taken into custody on at her residence at 327 Appanoose Street on Ottumwa's south side.

Ottumwa police tell KTVO that they came into possession of the videotape that showed Stanbridge beating a dog in her back yard. On the basis of that tape, Ottumwa police, led by Animal Control Officer Jeff Williams, served a warrant at the Appanoose Street residence.

At the scene, officers would not comment on what they found in the house, but Stanbridge was taken into custody.

KTVO reporters observed at least one canine at the residence.

Stanbridge has described herself as an animal rights activist, going so far as to make numerous attempts to rescue stray animals in town.

In an April 2010 interview with KTVO, Stanbridge said that she had personally rescued between 100 and 200 animals in her six years in Ottumwa. At that time Ottumwa police advised Stanbridge that she could not run an impromptu animal rescue operation. And Chief Jim Clark told KTVO that while he sympathized with people wanting to rescue strays, the best policy was to simply follow the law.Noelle Stanbridge's facebook page (you will need to sign into facebook)