KIMI PECK…MOTHER OF THE YEAR OR HOARDER OF THE DECADE? Well, we know she would never be nominated for mother of the year award; however, we know many people who would nominate her for hoarder of the decade award. Here is yet another article on Ms. Peck and her hundreds of animals living with her in Kern County. Fine line between disgusting, criminal animal caretaking BY JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org | Saturday, Aug 16 2008 12:00 PM
Fine line between disgusting, criminal animal caretaking BY JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer email@example.com | Saturday, Aug 16 2008 12:00 PM Last Updated: Friday, Aug 15 2008 1:15 PM Kimi Peck knows most people would be disgusted by the conditions inside her dog rescue in Tehachapi. Our readers recommend: BCHS football player dies $26 million-plus in defaults posted in northeast Bakersfield Helicopters watch over local law enforcement Two Brighthouse employees robbed and assaulted Inmate at jail’s minimum security section dies Photos: Three dogs sit and bark at the people below from the second-story balcony at Peck’s place Tuesday afternoon. These are just three dogs of the nearly 200 that live in this two-story home that has been converted into a dog kennel. Kimi Peck makes her rounds inside the two-story home where she runs a kennel. There are nearly 200 dogs that live in this home and Peck is working with Kern County Code Enforcement to improve the home for the animals. A chihuahua sits behind a metal grate and barks Tuesday afternoon. This chihuahua is just one of 180 to 200 dogs that live in a two-story home in Tehachapi. Sam Farr pours water into a small bowl for a group of chihuahuas in the front room of a two-story home that has been converted into a dog kennel. The home houses nearly 200 dogs. Sam Farr walks up a small staircase after feeding and serving water to the nearly 200 dogs that live in this two-story home in Tehachapi. Nearly 200 dogs have a run of this two-story home that has been converted into a kennel. Photo by Troy Harvey / The Californian Along with guard dogs, Kimi Peck keeps a .22-caliber rifle on the property. Kimi Peck gives a dog a kiss on the nose Tuesday afternoon. Peck owns a two-story home in Tehachapi where she houses between 180 and 200 dogs. Photo by Troy Harvey / The Californian Sam Farr brings bowls to the front room to feed and water the nearly 200 dogs that live in this two-story home in Tehachapi. Farr works for Kimi Peck, who owns and runs this kennel. Photo by Troy Harvey / The Californian These six collies are just a few of Kimi Peck’s guard dogs, which are housed on her property in Tehachapi. Related Stories: Animal hoarding: Why do they do it? Accused hoarder: ‘I love the animals like they’re my children’ Kern prosecuting more suspected hoarders New animal regulations up for debate Wednesday Almost 200 dogs live in enclosures inside the large home, on its balconies and in its garage. The din of barking dogs is deafening. Feces are smeared on the walls and pools of urine can appear as nature calls. Workers clean the home daily, holding back the filth — if not ever fully eliminating it all. But Peck’s animals are generally healthy, so Kern County Animal Control has not filed animal cruelty charges against her. SILVER SPOON Kimi Peck was a Hollywood child. She grew up in private prep schools, drove jaguars and hung out with Hollywood’s in-crowd. She married Gregory Peck’s son. She went to film school at the University of Southern California. She co-wrote "Little Darlings," a 1980 Tatum O’Neal vehicle. But in her 20s, Peck said, she realized she’d accomplished all her goals in life and still felt empty. “I wanted to fill a void,” Peck said. She started rescuing horses. Then someone gave her 36 chihuahuas. Chihuahua Rescue was born. Peck ran the rescue for more than a decade before, as she tells the story, jealous workers and disreputable business associates soured her reputation with Burbank animal control and drove her out of town. Peck came to Kern County. HOARDER TALK Peck’s enemies from Burbank have labeled her a hoarder — a title Peck rejects emphatically. “I don’t fit the profile of a hoarder,” she said. Over the years Peck has developed her own definition of what one is. “They are the people who were unpopular in school. They had a terrible childhood,” she said. “They can’t interact with humans. They’re paranoid.” And most importantly, hoarders aren’t aware of the situation they’re living in. “I don’t know if they’re crazy and don’t see what it looks like,” she said. That’s not her, Peck said. SANCTUARY When Peck came to Kern County, she told Animal Control Chief Denise Haynes the home in Tehachapi was a sanctuary for the 200 dogs who fled Burbank with her — her personal animals. Haynes told her that if she was running a kennel on the rural property, she would have to apply for a conditional-use permit. That would mean public meetings and, possibly, opposition from neighbors and detractors. Peck said she wasn’t in business. But Peck now admits the property is really a kennel for a new rescue she’s running out of Los Angeles. And all the constant wear and tear on the property is slowly destroying the home. So, while she hasn’t been charged with animal abuse, Peck is still in code enforcement trouble with Kern County. GETTING OUT Sometimes Peck feels trapped by the dogs. She’s trying to get back into screenwriting again. Her career would be easier without the dogs. Haynes has suggested “reducing her herd,” she said. Peck said she’s willing but simply not able. Most of the dogs are biters or too old to be adopted, she said. She can’t see any solution that doesn’t involve calling a veterinarian to her complex with a needle and a big vial of poison. And that’s not something Peck can bring herself to do. So, Peck said, she plans to leave Kern County in three months.