Just like every other ‘sanctuary’ Kimi Peck has operated over the years, neighbors are complaining that Ms. Peck is hoarding animals instead of caring for them. Check out the petition that neighbors sent to Kern County officials. 24 neighbors signed the petition.
Date: November 9, 2008 To: Sheriff’s Department, County of Kern , Tehachapi Sub-Station. Attention: Senior Deputy Litzka. From: Pine Tree Mine Area Residents, with homes on Pine Tree Mine Road, Raymond Court , Sunny Lane , Tibithill Lane , and Water Canyon Road. Subject: Ongoing public nuisance created by the animals owned by Kimi Peck at 19512 Pine Tree Mine Road , Tehachapi , California , County of Kern . Introductory statement: We, the undersigned, all neighbors of Ms. Kimi Peck, have attempted a number of times, through a number of avenues, to solve the significant personal, environmental and animal welfare problems that have been ongoing at Ms. Peck’s residence for roughly three years. Our efforts have not been successful, while at the same time the problems have increased in intensity and severity. Several Kern County departments have been consulted and made aware of our growing concerns and the broad scope of issues, but thus far nothing has had any effect on Ms. Peck or the core of the crisis, which is her unwillingness to transfer most of the animals in her custody to shelters and rescue groups who are standing by, ready to help alleviate the trouble. We present in this letter a sufficient factual record to establish a case of nuisance as a matter of law, and request that Kern County undertake an immediate investigation and then force a cessation of this ongoing violation. Background: On November 10, 2005 Kimi Peck, with the assistance of her accountant Susan Marlowe, C.P.A., purchased a home located at 19512 Pine Tree Mine Road, Tehachapi, CA 93561. Although the size of her parcel is large, it is in close proximity to other homes, and located in a canyon which amplifies and projects noise easily. (See APN #223-442-0300 on Kern County Zone Map #ZM 116-31). Shortly after taking possession of her property, Ms. Peck began moving dogs into her three level house, calling it a “sanctuary”. She has continued moving dogs into her house, her garage, her back porch and into chain link pens along the driveway. More chain link fencing material has recently arrived. Unlike what one would expect from a sanctuary, Ms. Peck’s dogs are often kept in small cages, or tied up without adequate shelter or care. The number of dogs fluctuates depending on inspections and the level of scrutiny by officials, media, neighbors, and others, but at present there are approximately 300 dogs on her property. Prior to coming to Tehachapi Ms. Peck was convicted of “operating an illegal kennel” in Burbank , California because she had so many dogs at her house there. As part of the judgment in that case, she was ordered to vacate the property on which she was living because she would not release the dogs in her care. When she left Burbank she had 297 dogs. Previously, she had been asked to leave Agua Dulce , California because she had 140 dogs in her possession. Ms. Peck has had numerous other animal related charges and convictions in her past. The current situation: For the past three years many of us living in the vicinity of Kimi Peck’s residence at 19512 Pine Tree Mine Road have been disturbed by the nearly constant barking by the dog’s residing there. We have done our best to be good neighbors and to be tolerant of Ms. Peck’s rights. However, it is now clear that she is, and will continue to be, the source of an escalating public nuisance. We also have rights that must be respected. Supervisor Don Maben has expressed concern for our situation through his chief of staff Tracy Nelson, but refers us to Kern County Animal Control under the umbrella of the Kern County Resource Management Agency. Dave Price, Head of the Kern County Resource Management Agency, and Guy Shaw, Animal Control Officer are both familiar with our difficulties and have expressed their concern. Several periodic inspections of Kimi Peck’s residence have been performed over the past two years by Denise Haynes and others at Animal Control. These inspections, however, are done with significant advance notice to Kimi Peck. Several of us have observed that, prior to the inspections, Kimi Peck removes many dogs from the property in travel cages. These dogs are transported off the property so that Animal Control does not see them or know their condition. Neighbors also observe increased cleaning crew activity just prior to these inspections, so that Animal Control never gets an accurate view of the premises and the conditions that exist on a daily basis. After the inspections, the dogs are returned, the operation is back to business as usual, and the noise and other problems resume. It appears to us that Ms. Peck avoids the purpose of the inspections every time. Since Animal Control does not actually see all of Ms. Peck’s animals and their condition, there is the possibility that evidence of animal cruelty is transported off the premises before each inspection, and back once the inspection is over. This would turn the inspections from a means by which the County discovers animal cruelty to an official approval and a protective shield for any such cruelty that is occurring. It should be pointed out that, according to Animal Control, their primary job is to verify basic standards of dog care and specifically to look for signs of animal neglect or abuse. It is not their job, nor their interest, to count the number of dogs Ms. Peck owns or to assess the legality of her activities. Guy Shaw has told us that periodic inspections will continue. Dave Price also supports on-going inspections but has encouraged us to contact the Kern County Planning Department. Jim Ellis of the Kern County Planning Department is aware of Kimi Peck and the situation in our neighborhood and he is sympathetic to our plight, but has stated that he is unable to do anything until Ms. Peck applies for a Conditional Use Permit to establish a licensed kennel. He referred us to the Kern County Code Compliance department. Kern County Code Compliance Officer, Al Rojas, has been working diligently to respond to our problem from the Code Compliance perspective, which is, that the primary use of Kimi Peck’s residence is no longer for human habitation but for animal habitation, and as such is in violation of Kern County law. Code Compliance is trying to persuade Ms. Peck, through inspections and citations, to apply for a Conditional Use Permit to build a licensed dog kennel. They are also monitoring other concerns on Ms. Peck’s property, such as the presence of several mobile trailers which, at times, have housed illegal workers. According to Code Compliance, Ms. Peck has not applied for a Conditional Use Permit. We observe the same pre and post inspection behavior by Ms. Peck for Code Compliance inspections as for the inspections conducted by Animal Control. (See above.) All of the department heads and other persons mentioned above have stated that they support an updated ordinance governing the ownership of animals within Kern County . Unfortunately, the process of hammering out a new ordinance has been very slow and significantly mired in complexities. Current Kern County law does not limit the number of animals that an individual can own. This, however, this does not authorize or condone the creation of a public nuisance. In spite of all our efforts, the offenses to our environment continue unabated. Sleep is lost. Nerves are frayed. Frustrations mount. Some of us have had to leave our homes for periods of time to get a break from the noise and the other problems. People have had it. Our complaint: Since Kimi Peck moved into her Tehachapi residence, our peaceful neighborhood has been severely and progressively disrupted. All of us, to some degree, have been adversely affected by one or more of the following disturbances coming from Ms. Peck’s property: 1. The barking of up to hundreds of dogs, day and night, for periods ranging from 30 minutes to 24 hours. 2. Disturbing sounds of yelping dogs in apparent distress, often accompanied by other sounds of banging, thumping and human yelling. 3. Disturbing sounds of uncontrolled dog fights. 4. Strong and offensive smell of urine and feces. 5. The smell of dead animals. 6. An annoying increase in both vehicle and pedestrian traffic going to and from the Peck residence at both the front gate (off Pine Tree Mine Road) and the back gate (off Sunny Hill Lane) at all hours of the day or night. 7. Clumps of dog hair and other debris blown from Ms. Peck’s property onto nearby properties. 8. Unusual infestations of flies and mosquitoes. 9. Occasional small arms gun shots coming from Ms. Peck’s property. The above disturbances affect some of us more than others, depending on the proximity of our property to that of Ms. Peck’s, and the prevailing wind direction, but all of us are negatively impacted by Ms. Peck’s illegal activities. It is for this reason that we are coming forward as a neighborhood to make this complaint. We are asking that more than a citation be issued. We are asking the Sheriff and the District Attorney to enforce the existing local ordinances. Regardless of the description that Ms. Peck uses to describe her activities (“shelter, sanctuary, rescue, etc.”) we believe it is illegal and that there are concerns relating to human health, animal welfare, and other violations of Kern County codes. Moreover, by implicitly allowing these conditions to continue, Kern County is an active participant in this ongoing problem. In addition, we believe Ms. Peck is violating state law by individually licensing her animals under her name while simultaneously soliciting and collecting public donations as a non-profit organization “sanctuary” and “rescue”. (See www.thedogangels.com and www.chihuahuarescue.com and www.guidestar.org). On October 5, 2008 a complaint was made to the Kern County Sheriff by Steve Benedict, one of our neighbors, about the nuisance caused by Kimi Peck’s dogs. In response to this complaint, Sheriff Hull visited Kimi Peck who admitted housing “186 dogs on her residential property”. We believe that the accurate number is likely twice that, based on the experiences Ms. Peck has had. The Investigation Report further states that “Peck was warned and advised about (Kern County Ordinance) 7.08.380 animals causing a nuisance.” None of the problems associated with the nuisance caused by Ms. Peck have abated since the sheriff’s visit. District Attorney Ronald Taylor reviewed this complaint and declined to prosecute Ms. Peck pursuant to Kern County Ordinance 7.08.380, stating that “civil remedies (are) available”. Kern County Ordinance 7.08.380 states that “The keeping or harboring of any animal or fowl, whether licensed or not, which by habitual howling, yelping, barking or other noise disturbs or annoys any considerable number of persons or any neighborhood is unlawful and is a public nuisance, and each day that such act is committed constitutes a separate offense.” (Emphasis added.) The assertion by District Attorney Taylor that there are “civil remedies” for the disturbance caused us by Ms. Peck’s activities is unfortunate and inappropriate. Citizens should not have to go to civil court to sue someone who is engaged in a criminal activity that negatively impacts the quiet use and enjoyment of their nearby properties. Nor should they have to bear the expense of such lawsuits. In summary: Given the number of signatures affixed to this complaint, there is little doubt that Ms. Peck’s activities meet the criteria for being a public nuisance. Questions remain about the legality of Ms. Peck’s other activities, which must be investigated further by Kern County , and perhaps State and Federal authorities. As representatives of our neighborhood who have been, and continue to be, adversely affected by the actions of a single property owner, we the undersigned respectfully ask the Sheriffs Department and the District Attorney to earnestly investigate this complaint and pursue whatever action is available to remove the public nuisance caused by Ms. Peck, and restore peace to our neighborhood and our lives. We believe that appropriate action by Kern County authorities to enforce existing law will not only abate the nuisance we have spoken of, but will improve the lives of the animals who are caught in the conditions which have created the nuisance. This complaint is respectfully submitted by the following persons: (See 23 signatures on file at the Kern County Sheriff’s Department – Tehachapi Sub-Station, 22209 Old Town Road , Tehachapi , CA 93561 .) Acknowledgement of Receipt The Pine Tree Mine Area neighbor’s complaint letter was sent by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Senior Deputy Litzka, Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Tehachapi Sub-Station, 22209 Old Town Road , Tehachapi , CA 93561 . It was received by the Sheriff’s Department on November 19, 2008 .