By Patric Hedlund
CUDDY CREEK (FRAZIER PARK), CA (Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 12:20 p.m.)—A home that has been considered a nuisance to neighbors for several years was raided by seven animal control officers and three Kern County Sheriff’s Deputies at about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14. They arrived with a search warrant, authorities said in an interview, to seize 75 animals reported to have been abused and kept in cruel living conditions.
One arrest was made, of a man named David Enoch Birrel, according to authorities. Neighbors and sheriff’s deputies said he goes by the name "Roger" and is the son of a woman known as Katherine Silvers. Katherine Silvers (Birrell), 56 and Sarah Sunshine, 31 (aka Sarah Birrell) were arrested at that home by a joint vice task force of Bakersfield Police Department and KCSO for sexual solicitation on September 25, 2009.
According to Kern County Sheriff’s Seargent Mark Brown, "There is probable cause to arrest Katherine Silvers based on the conditions discovered yesterday at the house."
Neighbors and professionals familiar with the property had reported animals kept in shocking conditions, but had not received significant response from Kern County Animal Control, they said at the time. A KCAC official, when asked today about the earlier reports, said that conditions had improved at the Cuddy Creek home for awhile, but had deteriorated again.
According to the Kern County Animal Control press release today, KCAC "had received a report of unsanitary conditions and public nuisance regarding the property. An Animal Control Officer responded to investigate and found animals in various states of duress due to the living conditions. A search warrant was immediately obtained and officers began an investigation.
"As a result of the investigation, 75 animals including dogs, cats, horses, goats, Chickens, roosters, cockatiel, tarantulas and a variety of fish were seized. David Enoch Birrel was arrested on felony 597 (b) charges – crimes against animals. The animals were seized due to immediate concerns regarding living conditions and transported to the Kern County Animal Shelter."
All animals from the property are being medically evaluated and treated by the Kern County Animal Control Medical Team according to KCAC Senior Animal Control Officer Steve Eirich. He said the animals were all being held as evidence for the court and that the investigation is ongoing. When asked if there may be additional arrests in this matter, Eirich said "I would not rule anything out." He also said there is an "ongoing investigation." He added that it took two days to remove the animals from the premises.
[Correction and update made to this story at 1:48 p.m. and 2:08 p.m. June 15, 2011—PH]
This is part of the June 10, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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