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DA’s Office Files Misdemeanor Charges Against Owner of 445 Animals

Sandra Coupal of Santa Barbara is accused of animal cruelty and failing to provide proper care and attention to her pets

A Santa Barbara woman whose ranch home was raided by county Animal Services has been charged with two misdemeanor counts that allege animal cruelty and failing to provide proper care for the 445 animals on her property, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod announced Wednesday.

Sandra Coupal had chickens, turkeys, pigeons, quail, rabbits, an alpaca, two cats and two dogs on her West Camino Cielo property, according to officials.

The animals are being held at the Santa Barbara Humane Society, which assisted in the Dec. 10, 2011, raid along with the Sheriff’s Department.

It was the overall living conditions that warranted the charges, not necessarily each individual animal, so Coupal is only being charged with one count for each allegation, Weichbrod said. If convicted of one or both charges, Coupal could get sentenced with up to one year in jail.

She is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 29 in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Weichbrod said.

Animal Services had received multiple complaints from neighbors, according to Director Jan Glick, but the county got a search warrant with permission to seize the animals in December.

All of the animals are considered evidence and aren’t available for adoption, so the county has been asking for food donations to help out in the meantime. Glick said donations of chicken lay pellets, game bird feed and turkey ration would be helpful.

“It’s a very large undertaking,” she said. “It takes a lot of labor and a lot of food, but they’re doing a lot better.”

Donations can be brought to Animal Services at 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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