SANTA YNEZ, Calif. - A local wildlife rescue organization has been given notice to cease operations over noise complaints but the woman behind Animal Rescue Team Inc. says they will prevail in keeping the non-profit group running.
Animal Rescue Team Inc. is a popular local organization with tremendous community support mainly because of the unique work that it does.
Whether it be bottle-feeding orphaned coyote pups, or tending to baby foxes or nursing a baby owl, Julia Di Sieno and her Animal Rescue Team of mostly volunteers play a prominent role in the community.
"We rescue, rehabilitate and release", Di Sieno says, "we try not to keep any wild animal in our custody for any longer than six months because they become habituated."
Di Sieno says Animal Rescue Team Inc. saves troubled or abandoned wildlife from certain death.
"We don't even have a local warden, let alone a biologist locally or anyone that's trained, permitted and authorized that's capable of doing of what we do here", Di Sieno says.
But some of Di Sieno's neighbors on Carriage Drive in Santa Ynez don't share that view.
At least one neighbor has complained to the County of Santa Barbara about noise from Di Sieno's property.
"The people next door have an issue with animals, period", Di Sieno says about her next-door neighbors who declined to comment on or off-camera about the issue.
Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Director Glenn Russell says Animal Rescue Team Inc. has always been exempt of needing an operating permit for the seven years its been at the Carriage Drive location unless or until there's a complaint about noise or odor.
Russell says a complaint about noise was received and was investigated by County Public Health and County Animal Services and the cease and desist order was issued.
Di Sieno has appealed the order to the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission.
That means she can continue her wildlife rescue operations until it comes before the Planning Commission for a public hearing.
"We try to keep this place spotless and dead silent on behalf of the animals that are under our care", Di Sieno says, "its dire and critical that they remain wild and that there's no human interaction and no habituation."
Russell says the county is only interested in full compliance with zoning regulations.
A date for the matter to come before the County Planning Commission has not yet been set.