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Dan De Vaul of Sunny Acres taken to jail after refusing probation

Dan De Vaul is handcuffed in a San Luis Obispo courtroom after refusing to agree to the judge's terms of probation.
Dan De Vaul is handcuffed in a San Luis Obispo courtroom after refusing to agree to the judge's terms of probation.

Tenants of the Sunny Acres ranch for the homeless applauded today in support of ranch owner Dan De Vaul as he was handcuffed and sentenced to 90 days in jail after refusing a condition of probation.

De Vaul, 66, refused terms of probation offered by Judge John Trice that would have set forth mandatory checks and code compliance of a barn where homeless have lived on his property, as well as removal of vehicles stored there.

Tenants of the property say that people are no longer living in the barn.

A group of about 30 supporters attended the sentencing. De Vaul was convicted of two charges of code violations relating to his barn and storage of vehicles on his Sunny Acres farm on Los Osos Valley Road.

De Vaul gave a statement in court saying that the law is open to interpretation and said that he felt a disconnect between the desires of people in the county and unfair enforcement.

Trice said he believed De Vaul and his lawyers were confusing the social issue of helping the needy in the county - De Vaul assists drug and alcohol users with a substance abuse program on his ranch - and compliance with the law.

Prosecutor Craig Van Rooyen said the barn was not a living unit and could have led to accident or injury with a fire.

Some of De Vaul’s supporters cried, some clapped, and one woman yelled out “We’re with you, Dan,” before he was led away to County Jail in handcuffs.

--Nick Wilson

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