Di Sieno, Julia Jane

Solvang Animal Rescue founder Julia Di Sieno was sentenced to two years probation Wednesday after being convicted of violating a court order and firearm possession. She plans to focus on her rescue operation while putting her criminal case behind her.

Solvang Animal Rescue founder Julia Di Sieno, who was convicted of disobeying court order in May, was sentenced to two years probation Wednesday. 

Di Sieno will not have to serve any jail time as part of her sentence.

On May 25, a Santa Maria Superior Court jury found Di Sieno guilty of the following misdemeanor counts: unlawful firearm activity in violation of court order, disobeying a court order and possession of a deadly weapon after a weeklong trial in Judge James Rigali's courtroom. She also must pay booking fees and victim restitution fines. 

Di Sieno was acquitted of seven counts of stalking and threatening her neighbors Richard and Mary Nohr, and assaulting her neighbor Dennis J. Bardessono, who testified in court that Di Sieno clipped him with her car March 24 at El Rancho Market.

Di Sieno was sentenced to informal probation, which means that she does not have to check in with a probation officer. As part of her probation terms, Di Sieno for the next two years will be subject to search and seizure, and is ordered to have no firearms or weapons. 

During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Di Sieno, founder of the Solvang Animal Rescue organization that she operates out of her Carriage Drive home, threatened, stalked and harassed the Nohrs, while the defense contended that the decadeslong feud escalated because Di Sieno's neighbors had issues with her animal rescue operation and plotted about ways to get police involved. 

As part of Di Sieno's sentence, prosecutor Steven Li asked for a no-contact order for Bardessono and the Nohrs, although Deputy Public Defender Kevin Dubrall protested due to the fact his client hadn't been found guilty in connection to charges involving her neighbors. 

After listening to both sides, Rigali issued a no-contact order for Bardessono. As to the Nohrs, Rigali ruled Di Sieno is allowed limited contact but is prohibited from molesting, annoying, threatening and harassing them as part of her terms. For all other pending issues, Rigali suggested that both parties should pursue civil action.

After the sentence was handed down, Di Sieno characterized the years leading up to her criminal case as "the most grueling experiences of my entire life." 

Di Sieno said she now plans to regroup with her rescue operation staff members while working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to amend permits that were removed as a result of complaints her neighbors filed. 

"I'm picking up the pieces and carrying on," Di Sieno said. "My goal is to focus on rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing all orphaned and injured wildlife."

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


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