By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor
A Santa Ynez Valley woman who operates Animal Rescue Team has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a man with a vehicle in the latest incident involving an escalating feud with her neighbors.
ART founder Julia Di Sieno, 57, was taken into custody Sunday morning while leaving her home in the 800 block of Carriage Drive in rural Solvang, according to Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Calderon.
The arrest came hours after a neighbor, whose name was not released, called the Sheriff’s Department at approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday to report he was the victim of a hit and run.
Di Sieno allegedly had followed the man in her truck from her residence to the nearby El Rancho Marketplace, at 2886 Mission Drive.
“After the victim got out of his car, Di Sieno drove her truck toward him, striking him on the shoulder with the side mirror of her vehicle,” Calderon said.
He said she then fled from the scene.
“During investigation, video evidence and witness statements corroborated the victim’s account of what occurred,” Calderon added.
The victim was not injured and he declined any medical treatment.
Sheriff’s deputies attempted to locate Di Sieno at her residence Saturday night, but were not successful.
At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, deputies contacted Di Sieno as she was leaving her home and arrested her on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon involving the vehicle.
She was booked into County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.
The incident marks the second arrest in 2018 for Di Sieno, who already was facing eight misdemeanor charges.
Late last year, four misdemeanor charges were filed against her, alleging stalking and making criminal threats.
In connection with that case, a Superior Court judge issued a criminal protective order and ordered Di Sieno to surrender firearms and ammunition.
Deputies investigating an alleged violation of the criminal protective order determined she had not turned over the weapons, however, and she was arrested Feb. 5.
They obtained a search warrant and found “numerous firearms,” along with “a copious amount of ammunition of various calibers.”
In late February, another four misdemeanor charges were filed against Di Sieno. The new charges include unlawful Firearms Act violation of a restraining order, possession of a deadly weapon, and two counts of contempt of court for disobeying a court order.
The criminal complaint identified the victims in the first case as Mary and Richard Nohr, Di Sieno’s neighbors.
The latest incident reportedly involved a different neighbor.
Di Sieno has been the focus of numerous complaints from multiple neighbors about the Animal Rescue Team’s operations at the property, which is outside Solvang city limits.
Last year, the state revised Di Sieno’s permit and prohibited the facility from handling coyotes, bobcats, badgers, foxes or deer fawns.