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Local News

Solvang Animal Rescue Team Founder Now Faces 8 Misdemeanor Charges

The founder of the Animal Rescue Team in Solvang faces four more misdemeanor charges, bringing the number to eight counts filed against her since December.

The cases against  Julia Di Sieno, 57, were on calendar Tuesday before Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge John McGregor, who set a  trial date for late April.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office filed the new charges against Di Sieno on Feb. 28,

The new charges include unlawful firearms act violation of a restraining order, possession of a deadly weapon, and two counts of contempt of court for disobeying a court order.

They stem from the judicial order requiring Di Sieno to surrender her weapons and ammunition.

Patrol deputies were investigating an alleged violation of a criminal protective order, allegedly perpetrated by Di Sieno toward Richard and Mary Nohr. Deputies discovered Di Sieno had not turned over her weapons as ordered by a judge earlier.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for her residence, and reportedly found “numerous firearms,” along with “a copious amount of ammunition of various calibers.”

The order to surrender firearms was issued as part of another case involving two misdemeanor charges of stalking and a pair of others for threatening a crime with intent to terrorize. 

The criminal complaint identified the victims in that case as the Nohrs, Di Sieno’s neighbors.

Di Sieno, who is represented by Kevin Dubrall from the Santa Barbara County Public Defender’s Office, has pleaded not guilty to all eight charges.

On Tuesday, McGregor set April 4 to hear a motion in the case and April 12 as the date to confirm whether the trial will proceed.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Li will seek to consolidate the two recent Di Sieno cases. 

The jury trial is tentatively set to start April 23.

Di Sieno has been the focus of numerous complaints from multiple neighbors about the Animal Rescue Team’s operations at the property on the 800 block of Carriage Drive outside the Solvang city limits.

Last year, the state revised her permit and prohibited the facility from handling coyotes, bobcats, badgers, foxes or deer fawns.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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