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Elderly Rancho Santa Fe woman accused of terrorizing, animal abuse, and aiming weapons at neighbors

Debra Barkley is accused of severe animal neglect, terrorizing her neighbors, and at one time, pulling a gun on a concerned neighbor who returned her lost dogs.

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. — People in an upscale North County community want action from the San Diego County Department of Animal Services - they said they had reported a neighbor for having too many dogs and not caring for them.

Neighbors told CBS 8 they’d reported their neighbor, Debra Barkley, to the county for years. 

One woman said she was told an agent would contact her, but no one did.

She and other neighbors we spoke with do not want to be identified because they said they’re afraid of Barkley, but they told us what they’ve experienced.

One neighbor said, “We have seen well over the legal limit of dogs on the property. The dogs are aggressive. They leave the property. We've had them on our yard where they've charged us; they've charged our daughter.”

Another neighbor said, “We all have young children, and our kids will be out playing in the front, and we have to race and grab our 2-year-old because they will bite. They will attack.” This neighbor said one of Debra’s dogs bit her dog in her yard.

San Diego County code reports you can have six dogs on your property. In one of the neighbor's videos, we counted seven dogs in the backyard. Neighbors said they’ve seen more.

One neighbor said, “We've counted five golden retriever puppies and four adults on top of the dog count already there.'

This neighbor, Debra Barkley, is at the center of another Department of Animal Service Investigation about a property with horses she owns

CBS 8 first reported the investigation in March.

Debra never answered our calls about her horse property, but today, we watched her drive a pickup truck slowly by where we were interviewing her neighbors.

She took out her cell phone and recorded us, recording her. We asked her if she would talk to us, but she never responded. She sat silently for several minutes and recorded us standing in her neighbor’s yard.

A former Navy Seal neighbor said Debra pulled a gun on him when he returned a couple of dogs to her house. He said he was shocked at what he saw. He said, “It looked like somebody took 18 dumpsters and spilled them across the house."

"Trash, garbage, feces all over the floor, a lawn mower in the living room, gas, paint all over the floor. The house is full of ripped-open cans of dog food. Bags of dog food all over the floor mixed in with all of the dog urine and feces all over the floor," the former Navy Seal continued.

The former Seal said he’d seen a dozen dogs on the property. He said, “They're totally out of control. The dogs keep having other puppies. Also, they're extremely violent and agitated by how they look and behave, which means they're not taken care of.”

The neighborhood’s HOA sued Debra and her property’s co-owner, Craig Netwig, and won a judgment against them in April. Court documents showed a picture taken at the front door of Debra’s house. Debra and Craig owe the HOA thousands of dollars.

The neighbors said they’re frustrated because they worry about the dogs on Debra’s property. The County’s Department of Animal Services sent a statement to CBS 8 shortly before airtime: 

“The County Department of Animal Services does not always enforce by immediately seizing animals. Here is a link to a website explaining how we investigate and how complaints are escalated.

We have received complaints about loose dogs, and we share the concerns of anyone afraid to leave their home because someone else’s dogs are loose. While we cannot give you specific details about an ongoing investigation, we can confirm that officers have contacted the owner about the dogs. We are also speaking with the reporting party today to get more information.

We have had officers out to the property and provided spay-neuter services for some dogs from that location.

A property owner in San Diego County can have up to 6 dogs; this owner was complying as of 4/14/23.

The owner is not registered with the County of San Diego as a dog breeder.”

WATCH RELATED: San Diego County investigating ranch with sick, dying horses

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