The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa City Animal Services removed more than 200 birds from an abandoned farmstead two mile southeast of Solon on Saturday. The 110 ducks and geese, 76 chickens and 49 pigeons were being kept in filthy conditions in sheds, without proper access to water, the Sheriff’s Office told The Gazette. The bodies of numerous dead birds were also found on the property, but it hasn’t been determined how those birds died.
The property is owned by Francis J. Prohaska of Iowa City and his brother. In 2016, Prohaska was charged with a misdemeanor animal neglect, after police were called to the North Dodge Hy-Vee following complaints about the smell coming from a U-Haul van Prohaska had abandoned in the parking lot. Inside the van were cages with 43 dehydrated, undernourished ducks covered in feces, and the remains of 19 ducks that had died.
On Saturday, the 70-year-old Prohaska voluntarily surrendered the birds on his farmstead to Iowa City Animal Services. The birds have been placed into foster homes, so they can be nursed back to health. When they are healthy, the birds will be available for adoption.
Animal Services is asking the public for donations to help care for the sudden influx of neglected birds. In a press release, the agency listed straw bales, “non-medicated poultry food, like ‘All Flock’ or other similar brands” and “farm supply gift cards, like Theisen’s Home Farm & Auto or Orscheln Farm and Home” as its primary needs. Anyone interested in helping should contact the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center at 319-356-5295.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek told The Gazette no decision had been made as to whether charges will be filed against Prohaska.