Ankeny pair arrested for starving dogs; one died, second survives

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Todd Ryan Townsend, 30, of Ankeny, left, was arrested Monday on charges of animal neglect with serious injury or death and animal neglect with injury, and Amber Jane Robison, 26, of Ankeny, was arrested Friday on charges of animal neglect with serious injury or death and animal neglect with injury.


Evander, a German shepherd weighing just 31 pounds, was saved “in the nick of time” from death by starvation, according to a spokesperson from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A second Ankeny resident was arrested Monday in connection with the starvation death last month of a female black Labrador and the near death of a male German shepherd.

Amber Jane Robison, 26, of 214 N.E. Fifth St., Ankeny, was arrested Friday on charges of animal neglect with serious injury or death and animal neglect with injury.

Todd Ryan Townsend, 30, of 214 N.E. Fifth St., Ankeny, was arrested Monday on charges of animal neglect with serious injury or death and animal neglect with injury.

The incident began April 24, when Robison brought the deceased black Labrador and severely emaciated German shepherd to the clinics of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) in Des Moines.

Evander the German shepherd was “rescued in the nick of time,” said an ARL spokesperson. “He had been suffering for quite some time and likely would still be if it hadn’t been for the quick action of our team and Ankeny Police over the weekend.”

The ARL veterinarian said the Labrador died of starvation, according to court records. She arrived at the clinic already deceased and in a carrier caked in feces.

Robison allegedly admitted to “leaving her dog in the kennel without food or water for days at a time in her home,” according to court records.

The ARL said “the dog would have to be left for three to four weeks” to reach the state in which it died. A necropsy confirmed the female dog died of starvation.

Robison was questioned at the ARL, and “our shocked team quickly realized there was another dog still in the home,” the ARL said. Quick action rescued the 8-month-old Evander from a like fate.

Evander was suffering from severe dehydration, and his spine and ribs protruded prominently. He weighed 31 pounds.

“Evander is now on a special refeeding program to help him regain his weight safely and is being closely watched by our medical team,” the ARL said. “He is lucky to be alive, and he’s not out of the woods.”

Evander’s recovery can be tracked on the ARL website.

Robison was held in the Polk County Jail prior to gaining pretrial release. She is scheduled for arraignment June 14 in Polk County District Court.

Townsend is held in the Polk County Jail in advance of an initial appearance in Polk County District Court.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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