Family: Accused animal abuser stole Gilbert's name

Family: Accused animal abuser stole Gilbert's name »Play Video
This file photo shows an accused animal abuser who told authorities her name was Anita Gilbert. The family of the real Anita Gilbert says this woman stole the name of Anita Gilbert.
A woman accused of animal cruelty now faces more accusations. A Bay Area family said the suspect known in Kern County as "Anita Gilbert" stole the identity of their relative.

The suspect "Anita Gilbert" was arrested in July after animal control officers seized about 60 cats and dogs from what they called "filthy" conditions at a home near Tehachapi.

Lou Senno wants to clear the name of his sister, Anita Louise Senno Gilbert. Senno was shocked when he got a call from a bail bondsman Wednesday night. The suspect "Anita Gilbert" had skipped out on her bail, and the bondsman was trying to find any family in hopes of tracking her down.

"Gilbert" posted bail on the charges of animal abuse, then in August new charges were added that Gilbert had allegedly threatened a deputy public defender. An arrest warrant has been out for "Gilbert" since then.

Senno believes the suspect stole his sister's identity. "The person that was arrested did assume my sister's identification fraudulently," said Senno. "My sister is totally 180-degrees in the opposite direction of this woman's actions."

Senno said his sister died of cancer in May 2007. The brother said Anita Senno Gilbert lived in Florida for the last 35 years, and was the CEO of a real estate investment company.

After hearing from the bail bondsman, the brother thinks the suspect somehow got a copy of his sister's driver's license. Senno isn't sure when that could have happened.

The brother is also wondering how the suspect came in contact with his sister. Senno said the real Anita Gilbert got treatment for cancer in 2004 and 2005 in Southern California. The suspect may have met the sister then.

Senno also said his sister was very active in charity events and supported a number of animal care causes. He thinks the suspect could have come across Anita Gilbert's name in that way.

Kern County prosecutors confirm the suspect Gilbert was using the same birth-date as the real Anita Gilbert.

When the Kern County case started, animal control officers from Riverside County showed up and confirmed the suspect in the local case is the same woman they investigated in 2006.

In the community of Hemet, Riverside County officers seized more than 40 animals from squalid conditions. The suspect in that case used the name "Barbara Ryan."

Kern County officials said they aren't sure what the suspect's real name is, and she could have used up to a dozen aliases over the years.

As for checking fingerprints in all these cases. "Anita Gilbert's" fingerprints were taken when she was booked into the Kern County jail in July. But, no prints were taken in the Riverside case from 2006 because the suspect took off before she was arrested.

Kern County officials say no prints are available from other legal cases that seem to have been filed against this same suspect.

But, the family of Anita Louise Senno Gilbert said they don't want her name connected to the animal abuse allegations. Lou Senno wants his sister's name and memory clear of any connection to the case.

"Anita Gilbert was very a very special, kind and charitable person," said Senno. "And we'd like to have that memory left of her."