Dog owners are speaking out as an Iowa dog kennel owner had his animal neglect sentence delayed this week.
Sentencing was scheduled on Wednesday for Dustin Young, but it was put on hold when the defense asked for a deferred judgement. Last May, authorities found three dozen malnourished dogs and puppies at Young Gunz Kennel in Hancock. At least four other dogs were found dead.
Young owned Young Gunz where he trained, bred and boarded hunting dogs. He struck a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to twelve counts of animal neglect and in exchange, 28 other charges were dropped.
All the surviving dogs were returned to their rightful owners or adopted out.
While the court has yet to weigh-in, dog owners confronted Young Wednesday as he appeared in Pottawattamie County Court. Several dog owners told the judge why they didn’t believe what they were seeing felt like justice.
They said that they had trusted him with their pets and in their words, Dustin Young failed them. It began with anger and sadness as they recounted what happened to their pets last spring as animal control experts focused on the farm in Hancock.
That anger and sadness then turned to frustration after hearing what they said were hollow excuses from the suspect.
Six dog owners were in court on Wednesday, with several of them giving victim statements. They wanted Dustin Young to know what he did wasn’t okay and that, for them, justice means jail time.
Dani Allison, of Spencer, Iowa, said her dog Duke was one of the animals found dead at Young's facility. “We went down to Hancock and his property to pick up our dog and took him home to bury him. I don’t understand why that happened. Why someone could do this. Why not call us and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this going on. Come get your dog.’ We would have done it. I want justice. I want my guilt to go away for sending my dog there.”
After pleading guilty to two misdemeanors of animal neglect resulting in death and ten other counts of neglect, Young faces a maximum jail time of roughly three years. The judge delayed the sentencing until next month so a pre-sentence investigation could be completed.