Local News

Thursday, Jan 30 2014 06:02 PM

Kern County animal hoarder at odds with LA County officials

  1. 1 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

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  2. 2 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

    click to expand click to collapse
  4. 4 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

    click to expand click to collapse
  5. 5 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

    click to expand click to collapse
  6. 6 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

    click to expand click to collapse
  7. 7 of 8

    By Kern County Animal Services

    Kern County Animal Services investigation photos from 2008 show the interior of the Tehachapi home where Cynthia Gudger was found living with more than 50 dogs and cats.

    click to expand click to collapse
  8. 8 of 8

    By Henry a. Barrios / The Californian

    Cynthia Gudger used the fictitious name of Anita Gilbert in the past. This 2009 file photo is from an arraignment Gudger faced on charges of threatening a public official.

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County animal hoarder Cynthia Gudger appears to be up to her old tricks again.

She is due in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday to face perjury charges after she allegedly applied for a driver's license under an assumed name.

And KABC-TV in Los Angeles is reporting that Los Angeles Animal Services is investigating complaints that Gudger is again keeping animals in deplorable conditions, this time at a small home in a alley just blocks from Venice Beach.

The story of false identities and animal hoarding is familiar to those who remember Gudger's history in Kern County.

She was arrested in July 2008 after being found living under the assumed name of Anita Gilbert with more than 50 living cats and dogs and 14 dead ones in a feces-filled warehouse in Tehachapi.

After being sentenced by Kern County to five years probation in 2010, Gudger moved to Los Angeles, said Kern County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn.

A condition of her probation in Kern County was that she could not own animals until March 2015, he said.

But her probation was transfered to Los Angeles County when she moved. It's unclear whether the terms of her probation there allow her to own animals.

Nancy Hancock, a neighbor of Gudger's, said police and L.A. Animal Service officials visited Gudger's home late last year but did not have a search warrant.

The night after the police visited, Hancock said she saw three SUVs pull up in the alley and begin ferrying Gudger's animals away.

Soon after, Hancock said, Gudger had a service crew out to clean up the home.

Before the cleaning, however, Hancock said she got a whiff of the place through an open window. From 40 feet away it smelled like a zoo full of dead animals, she said.

Now, according to media reports, Gudger is keeping animals in her home again.

Gudger captured Kern County headlines after she was found living in a feces-filled warehouse in Tehachapi in 2008.

The stench was so strong that officers gagged and resorted to respirators.

Inside, they found animals trapped in carrying cases filled with "fecal sludge." Other pets wandered urine soaked in a warehouse littered with trash and empty cat food cans. Animal carcasses wrapped in plastic were stored in a freezer.

Authorities quickly learned that the woman they knew as Anita Gilbert had escaped from Hemet just before being charged with animal cruelty after Riverside County authorities found her living in a feces-filled home.

Gilbert fought to get her animals back and, after that appeal was rejected, skipped bail and fled town.

She hid in a Fillmore apartment and an Oxnard hotel room before a Lancaster bail bondsman tracked her down in Reseda.

Gudger was ruled incompetent to stand trial and sentenced to Patton State Hospital near San Bernardino for rehabilitation.

Eventually she was ruled competent and returned to Kern County, where she pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges and was released on probation.

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