Julia Di Sieno, who operates the nonprofit Animal Rescue Team in Solvang, has the misfortune of living next door to the proverbial “neighbor from hell.” This neighbor has left no stone unturned looking for ways to shut down Animal Rescue Team since its inception in 2007. All the other neighbors have been supportive, and Julia has always been conscientious about her impact on the community.
Her legal tribulations have been well covered by the local media, including two arrests, one for which she was falsely accused of trying to run down the neighbor’s friend with her vehicle. She was acquitted of this and all other charges stemming from the neighbor’s unfounded allegations, in a jury trial last year.
But the neighbor is relentless, and knows how to play the system. Every time a complaint is lodged, the appropriate agency is obligated to investigate. This has resulted in over 40 inspections of her property. The latest complaint was to County Planning concerning a small unpermitted barn. As it turns out, the barn existed before Julia purchased the property. The seller, who has since passed, failed to disclose, and records show the barn was there when the seller bought the property. While logical to assume she would be grandfathered in, she still faces the possibility of substantial inspection fees and penalties.
It is a mystery how one hateful neighbor, wasting all agencies’ time and taxpayer money while making someone’s life a nightmare, is allowed to continue abusing the system without scrutiny or consequences. The squeaky wheel sure got the grease.
In desperate need of donations, and through the adversity, Julia and Animal Rescue Team soldier on, having saved 120 lives this year alone, and continue being a voice for the “voiceless” ? the animals.