Man Charged After Thousands of Pigs Found Living in Conditions So Cold Some Ears Froze Off

An Iowa man was arrested after thousands of pigs were found living in horrendous conditions in temperatures roughly 40 degrees lower than what they needed to survive.

Nolan Dewall, 38, was arrested on Monday by Black Hawk County sheriff's deputies after investigators said 800 pigs were found dead on his farm and others were seriously neglected. He was charged with one count of livestock neglect, which is a misdemeanor in Iowa, The Courier in Waterloo reported.

Court records show Dewall was hired to raise 2,500 baby pigs until they reached roughly 280 pounds. The pigs were dropped off at his farm in Cedar Falls with 15 tons of feed in late December. By December 30, a consultant found hundreds of dead pigs.

The consultant told investigators that the temperatures inside the barns were too cold for pigs to survive, and several animals had their ears frozen off or frostbitten. Court records said pigs need to be kept in temperatures around 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but the temperature inside Dewall's barn was less than 50 degrees.

The consultant said the pigs did not have access to water and some didn't have access to food. Court records showed the animals would have to be without food and water for over 48 hours to die.

The Courier reported that a veterinarian who was called to investigate the conditions of the farm said some of the pig feeders had no food, and the water bowls were "bone dry," according to records.

Iowa State University's veterinary lab received tissue samples of the dead pigs and ruled the pigs' cause of death as malnutrition and dehydration, but the tissue samples did not show any signs of diseases.

Authorities said they removed the remaining pigs from Dewall's farm and transported them to another facility. Fifty-one pigs died during the moving process and another 60 died shortly after, according to state records.

Newsweek reached out to the Black Hawk County Sherriff's Office, which said in an email: "Our office [has] no statement to make."

Iowa law defines livestock neglect as depriving livestock of necessary sustenance and failing to provide livestock with proper care customary to animal husbandry practices.

The law states that committing an act of livestock neglect is a "simple misdemeanor" charge. However, if someone intentionally commits livestock neglect resulting in death or serious injury, then it's a "serious misdemeanor."

800 Pigs Dead on Iowa Farm
Nolan Dewall was arrested and charged with livestock neglect in Iowa after 800 pigs were found dead on his Cedar Falls farm. Thousands of pigs were subjected to horrible living conditions and didn't have access to food and water. Others pigs' ears were frozen off because of how cold the barn was. Jean-Francois Moiner/ AFP/Getty Images