Animal activist from Oakland sentenced for conspiring to free minks, vandalize stores

- An animal rights activist from Oakland has been sentenced in federal court in San Diego to one year and nine months in prison for conspiring in a 40,000-mile road trip in 2013 to free minks from mink farms and vandalize fur stores and other animal enterprises.
   
Nicole Kissane, 30, was sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns of San Diego.
   
Burns described Kisssane's actions as a "calculated, premeditated reign of terror over those in the fur industry," according to Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson of San Diego.
   
Kissane pleaded guilty before Burns on Dec. 27 to one count of conspiring to violate the U.S. Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006.
   
Kissane's companion in the actions, Joseph Buddenberg, 32, also of Oakland, pleaded guilty last February to the same charge and was sentenced by Burns in May to two years in prison.
   
The judge ordered Kissane to pay $423,477 in restitution to the farm owners and other victims, and ordered Buddenberg to pay $398,272.
   
The two defendants were arrested by the FBI in Oakland on July 24, 2015, after being indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego, and were later transferred to San Diego to face the charges there.
   
The indictment alleged that the conspiratorial acts included using paint, glue and glass etchant to vandalize a San Diego fur store and the homes of the present and former owners.
   
Other alleged acts were freeing more than 5,600 minks from mink ranches in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin during trips around the country between July and December 2013, according to the indictment.
   
When back in the Bay Area between trips, the pair allegedly slashed tires on the trucks of a wholesale meat distributor and glued the locks of unidentified animal enterprises, the indictment said.
   
Robinson said that in her plea agreement, Kissane admitted that she and Buddenberg caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage during the summer and fall of 2013.

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