Owner gets dogs back from accused animal hoarder after 5 years

Owner gets dogs back from accused animal hoarder after 5 years »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Two dogs confiscated from accused animal hoarder Kimi Peck are finally returned to their owner.

Julie Feiner has the dogs back after a five-year fight, but says the next battle is to get justice for the little animals.

"I'm overjoyed I've got them back," Feiner said Wednesday from the Pasadena home of her attorney. "It's been an incredible journey."

Back in 2009, Feiner contacted a volunteer with Peck's rescue, looking for a mother dog to nurse the pair of weeks-old Chihuahua puppies. Their mother had died, and Feiner says the volunteer promised the group had a mother dog with a small litter who could take them in.

Feiner says when she tried to get them back when it seemed they should be weaned, the volunteer never returned her calls. She then went to Peck's home near Bear Valley Springs to get the dogs back. Peck refused to return them, saying the dogs were with a foster family. Feiner never believed that.

Then late last week Peck was stopped in Wyoming in a fifth-wheel trailer with nearly 60 dogs. Authorities confiscated 56 of them, and that included Feiner's two dogs. She just flew to Wyoming and brought them back.

"They're in horrendous condition," Feiner said. The male dog was named "Cowboy" by shelter workers in Wyoming. Feiner says that dog's ribs were sticking through the skin on his back, and he has a "wobbly" back leg.

And then there's "Cheyenne," the female dog. "Her whole bottom jaw is rotting out and she only has two teeth sticking out." Feiner says. The owner believes the dogs didn't get good food or water for the last five years, and spent most of that time in Peck's trailer.

"Both of them were left living in a crate for the whole five years," Feiner complains. "Five years in a crate with another dog."

When Wyoming officials stopped the trailer, they first cited Peck for failure to have proof of rabies vaccinations for the dogs. Then, when she took them to a vet, he said some were in bad shape, and that's when Peck had to turn them over to the shelter.

Feiner worries over the years, officials haven't done enough to protect animals from Peck. She first had a large number of dogs in Burbank, then two different locations in Kern County. Animal advocates say they later tracked Peck to a location near San Bernardino, then finally Wyoming.

And, Feiner says it was through a November 2009 Eyewitness News report that she was able to get the dogs back.

"It was the only proof that she said 'These are Julie Feiner's dogs, and I'm not giving them back,'" Feiner said. In that report Peck had brought two small Chihuahua puppies out to show the camera, which Feiner later said where hers.

That day, Peck told a reporter it "would be a cold day in hell" before she'd return the dogs. Feiner says the report also helped her get a court order.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am for you coming out that day, because nobody else would cover the story," Feiner said. "You got her to flaunt the puppies and show you that did have them in her possession."

Feiner says that helped her legal battle with Peck.

"I filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that they were stolen from me, and the judge ruled -- yes, they were stolen." But, even with the order, Peck never handed over the dogs.

Now, Feiner's convinced the little dogs somehow remember her.

"I waited for five years to get them, five years to get them returned to me, and next I'm going to fight for justice for them," Feiner said. "Kimi Peck should pay for what she did to these poor things."

After the dogs were turned over in Wyoming, Peck was allowed to still keep several. Authorities in Weld County, Colorado say a couple days later two dogs were reported running loose near her residence there, and one appeared "very emaciated." Because of that, Peck was arrested in that jurisdiction on one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty.

As of Wednesday night, Peck was still in jail in Colorado and expected in court there on Friday.

Feiner says now with her dogs finally back from Peck, she's getting them good food and medial attention. But her fight is not over.

"She needs to pay for what she's done," Feiner says about Peck. "She needs to be stopped and convicted."