Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Helping or Hoarding? County Seizes Hundreds of Birds from Mountain Property

by Tyler Hayden

Santa Barbara authorities seized more than 400 birds from a West Camino Cielo ranch this Saturday, accusing the owner of hoarding and neglecting the animals kept on her secluded property. In addition to the birds – hens, roosters, turkeys, guinea hens, doves, and pigeons – a cat, two dogs, and an alpaca were also taken.

The property owner, Sandy Coupal, contends the birds were well cared for, always provided clean water and high-protein food, and housed in spacious aviaries. She said she’s helped by a few volunteers and takes in aging birds that wouldn’t be adopted at a shelter and would instead be euthanized. Calling her property a sanctuary for unwanted or displaced animals, Coupal – who is a retiree from UCSB’s study abroad program – sees the crackdown as retaliation after she, with the help of an attorney, successfully thwarted the county’s attempt three years ago to confiscate her animals.

Jan Glick, director of County Animal Services, which led Saturday’s raid, said her department recently received a complaint from a concerned citizen. The person said they witnessed a large amount of animals on the property and was worried about the care being provided to them. After an Animal Services representative and a sheriff’s deputy inspected the ranch on December 2, the county obtained a signed search warrant and returned on December 10, armed with nets, cages, and a line of trucks. Personnel rounded up the birds and transported them to the Humane Society in Goleta, where they are being held..."  More

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sandy Coupal is a woman with a big heart whom takes in animals that need special care, Sandy does nothing but good work around the community with these animals. PLEASE! What they did was horific, she has done nothing wrong but care for these animals that need her. For the County to go into her property and seize these animals is poor judgement and unethical. We need more folks like Sandy! Animal control should go where they are needed and not waste our tax money. All the animals that were seized were in good health and well fed! Shame on animal control and the person that had no business calling them!