Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians, California


Ed and Jacqui Mooney were arrested early last month for closing off a route into the Chumash reservation for nearly five weeks. Authorities said the couple used a few dozen signs, a big metal barrel and a telephone pole dragged across the roadway to block a road to the reservation for most of March and the first week of April. They were booked for investigation for obstructing a public right of way. The Mooneys said they blocked the road because the creek crossing was built by the tribe on the family's land without permission. "We didn't want to have to do this... they've just written us off, and you can't come in an take somebody's land like that," Mooney said. Fire officials have been patrolling the road, one of two leading to the Chumash Casino, to make sure it stays open. "We just can't have people closing down public roads," said Jim Harrison, a division chief in the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. A department captain made the citizen's arrest of the Mooneys April 6.

Santa Barbara County and the Chumash are putting the bite on dogs and skunks. Two decades of on-again, off-again negotiations concluded with the county reaching an agreement with the band to provide full animal control services on its 133-acre Santa Ynez reservation. The plan will rein in nearly 90 unrestrained and unlicensed dogs on tribal land and begin a reservation rabies control program. Jurisdictional obstacles, liability issues and a change in tribal leadership delayed agreement over the decades, Chumash planner William Wyatt said. "I wanted to start (talks) back up because we were getting complaints from tribal members being harassed by dogs on the way to get their mail," he said. "It's been an issue and we're glad we finally have some resolution to it." The county department of Animal Services noted a "proliferation of rabies-positive skunks" on the reservation. Fifteen rabid skunks were found in the past six months and two dogs and a human were bitten by rabid skunks in the past year. The Lompoc animal shelter will serve the reservation with impound, boarding, euthanizing and disposing of animals services.