February15 – Santa Barbara
Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County District Attorney, issued a press release today indicating that her office “has filed two misdemeanor counts” against Sandra Coupal alleging multiple acts of animal cruelty and failure to provide proper care and attention to animals.
Dudley named Kevin Weichbrod, Deputy District Attorney, as the lead prosecutor in the case pursuant to a December 10, 2011 search warrant served by County Animal Services, Santa Barbara Humane Society, and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives upon Coupal’s Santa Barbara ranch home. The warrant was issued after County Animal Services Director Jan Glick reported having received numerous public complaints about Coupal’s brood. The warrant, according to Glick, specifically directed Animal Services to seize the animals, which are considered evidence of criminal activity and are not available for public adoption. Among the animals seized are chickens, turkeys, pigeons, rabbits, cats, dogs, and unspecified waterfowl.
Dudley’s media release recounted the arrest reports detailing 445 animals found on the property, all living in “horrible conditions”.
When contacted about Dudley’s announcement, Weichbrod said “the charges came about as a result of the overall conditions, not specific to each animal,” adding that Coupal is charged with one count for each individual allegation, but not for individual accounts related to specific animals. According to Weichbrod, Coupal faces up to a year in County Jail upon conviction.
The influx of animals at the County Animal Services shelter presents a burden upon staff and resources, Glick reported. She requested public donations of pellets, feed, and turkey rations. “It’s a very large undertaking,” she said, and specified that contributions of food are being received at Animal Services, 5473 Overpass Road, Goleta.
Santa Barbara Independent: Helping or Hoarding?
KCOY: Animal Services Taking Financial Hit To Feed 445 Seized Animals
keyt.com: District Attorney Files Charges Against Woman For Animal Cruelty
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