Local Animal Advocate to Star in TV Show


November 22, 2011 6:31 AM

The executive director of the Animal Rescue Team will be featured in January on Animal Planet’s hit show “Animal Hoarders.”
Julia Di Sieno, known for her love of all things animal and co-founder of the Animal Rescue Team, told the News-Press she traveled to Pahrump, Nev., for the episode, in which a woman had more than 85 cats, 18 dogs, three pigs, rabbits, ducks, a turkey, four horses, a llama, a raven and some California quail.
Ms. Di Sieno, called in to help place the approximately 15 rabbits, fowl and birds, said Animal Planet had heard of the work of the Santa Barbara County-based rescue operation. When she arrived in Nevada, the scene was a sad one, she said.
“A lady used to work at an animal shelter, and she had acquired many animals that were slated for euthanasia,” she explained, “so … because of her big heart and her soft spot for animals, she would continue to bring all these animals home until her sister said, ‘Hey look, you’ve got to quit here.’ ”
Ms. Di Sieno said the woman lives in a trailer in Pahrump.
“There were two other trailers parked next to it, and I believe those were family members living on the lot, the property,” she said. “The property was several acres. It was extremely barren with no shelter.”
The woman parted with some of her animals, but not all of them. In fact, said Ms. Di Sieno, she was able to part with only 25 of the 85 cats.
“She was just struggling with handing over the cats,” she said. “She was just in too deep.”
According to the animal advocate, the trailer’s windows were all left open because it had no air conditioning. Cats were free to come and go.
“When we were there it was 115 degrees,” she said. “The kitties were seeking shade, shelter, wherever they could. They were all congregated close by where there was shade.”
For her part, Ms. Di Sieno said the experience left her with no regrets.
“I met some very nice people,” she said. “I can relate to how this happened, and how she acquired these animals makes perfect sense, and she realized she had gotten herself in too deep and admitted to it.”
Ms. Di Sieno said the woman was taking steps toward rectifying the problem.
She said before she undertook the experience, she watched a couple of episodes of “Animal Hoarders” to condition herself.
“We were blessed this was not as horrific,” she said. “This was a genuine case of someone that deeply cared for animals, that lost her job, was trying to raise two kids as a single mom and also caring for her ailing mother, and she wanted to do what was best for the animals.”
According to information from Driving the Bus Productions II Inc., there are more than 3,000 cases of animal hoarding reported a year, and at least 10 times that number go unreported.

For more information, go to www.animalhoardingproject.com.

email: mhoover@newspress.com

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