James Burger is a top notch writer for the Bakersfield Californian who continues to keep animal hoarders in the news in Bakersfield. For that, animal lovers THANK JAMES BURGER! Here is Mr. Burger’s latest article…

Animal "rescuer" continues to dog county supes BY JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer | Sunday, Jan 03 2010 02:17 PM Last Updated Sunday, Jan 03 2010 02:18 PM Peck’s current home on Bear Valley Road has a bad history. In July 2008, Kern County Animal Control officers found accused animal abuser Cynthia Gudger living in the warehouse on the property with a menagerie of starving cats and dogs. The building was piled with trash, feces and animal corpses. Peck’s accountant, Susan Marlowe, had allowed Gudger to live there under the alias Anita Gilbert and had helped Gudger get control of animals that had been seized from her in Hemet by Riverside County Department of Animal Services officers when she was living under the name Barbara Ryan. Gudger fled animal abuse charges after making bail in Kern County but was recaptured, returned to court and was ruled incompetent to stand trial before being placed in a mental health facility in April. Peck moved into the home in June. Tehachapi animal rescuer Kimi Peck will face a $5,000 fine and a $500-a-day penalty when she is called on the carpet before the Kern County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. She should be on familiar ground. Peck was fined $5,000 in July for exactly the same offense she faces Tuesday — running a kennel without a permit on land zoned for agriculture. She currently keeps around 170 dogs — mostly chihuahuas — in a home she rents from her Beverly Hills accountant, Susan Marlowe, on Bear Valley Road west of Tehachapi. That home sits just a six-mile drive from the multi-level house on Water Canyon Road where Peck had kept the dogs until June 23. Peck moved from Water Canyon to Bear Valley Road just hours before a two month deadline to get the animals off the property or earn a conditional use permit to operate a kennel there expired. If Peck hadn’t moved, she would have faced a $500-a-day fine for more than 60 days of delay. But county reports state that, within three days of Peck’s move to Bear Valley Road, county code compliance officers confirmed she needed a conditional use permit to shelter her animals there as well. The code enforcement process against Peck began all over again. County Engineering and Survey Services Director Chuck Lackey and then-Planning Director Ted James met with Peck in July and ordered her to get a conditional use permit. She asked them for more time to deal with the problem — at the same time she promised Kern County Animal Control Director Guy Shaw she would be moving out of Kern County with her dogs. "She had told me she’s moving out of the county," Shaw said at the time. "She told me that she bought a piece of property but escrow won’t close until August." But in late August, according to an Engineering and Survey Services report, an attorney representing Peck wrote to the county arguing that Peck was not in violation of any law. County officials wrote back, outlining the tax filings and evidence from various rescue websites maintained by Peck, that show she is operating either a kennel or an animal shelter on her property — both of which are a violation of land use law in the county’s opinion. That was the same evidence that convinced supervisors to fine Peck in June for violations on Water Canyon Road. County officials told Peck’s attorney she must apply for a conditional use permit by Oct. 1 or face further penalties. Peck did not apply for the permit. So county officials started the process of bringing the violations to supervisors. While that process was going on, Peck got in more trouble. Peck has argued, in the past, that she is simply an animal owner with a large number of dogs — an argument that, if true, would eliminate the need for a conditional use permit. County officials don’t buy her argument. But if it is true, then Peck is required to license every one of her dogs. She has, according to Shaw, failed to meet that requirement. In December, Peck was charged in Mojave court with nine counts of failing to license her dogs. In the meantime, Peck’s accountant and the owner of the Bear Valley Road property, Marlowe, has filed for bankruptcy, county officials report. On Tuesday at 2 p.m. the whole mess will come before supervisors. The engineering department is asking for the same fine they requested from supervisors in March and April — a $5,000 fine and a $500 a day penalty until Peck seeks a conditional use permit or moves. This time the penalties are also aimed at Peck’s accountant as well. Peck did not respond to messages left on phone numbers for her animal rescue organization

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