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Neglected Pig Saves 360 Lives

**Update: December 27, 2017: Nicholas Chittock, owner of Simply Country feed store, pled no contest to a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge. He is on a year probation, ordered to pay a small amount in fines, and may be required to pay restitution.

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Neglected Piglet Saves 360 Lives

In late October, Animal Place staff received a distressing call about a young piglet being neglected at Simply Country feedstore. We immediately investigated the call and found an underweight piglet with severely damaged ears and multiple bite wounds across her body, caused by being placed in an overcrowded pen with larger piglets. The piglet had not received any appropriate veterinary care and portions of her ears were falling off.

Attempts were made to convince the feedstore to relinquish custody to Animal Place, but they were refused. While at the feedstore, we noticed a large number of ill chickens, exhibiting signs of severe respiratory distress.

A local neighbor, concerned about the piglet, purchased her and brought her to Animal Place.  Our veterinarian ended up partially amputating both ears and treating the piglet, now named Cleo, for puncture wounds.

Disturbed by the scene at the feedstore, we contacted Nevada County Animal Control and requested a welfare check on the chickens.

Animal control investigated Simply Country feed store and were horrified by what they saw. In the back of the feed store (away from public access) they found 58 dead birds, along with hundreds of other birds in various stages of neglect.

Working with Nevada County Animal Control, Animal Place staff aided in the confiscation of 360 birds from Simply Country feed store.

All of the birds were brought to Animal Place sanctuary where they will be housed until test results are returned to determine if the birds can be adopted. Unfortunately, these birds may be too ill to be saved and it is possible euthanasia will be the only option.

More than 95% of the birds are severely malnourished, despite being housed at a feed store. At least half of the population has some form of respiratory illness that was left untreated. Over the course of four days, 31 birds have passed away or have been euthanized.

Criminal charges will be filed with the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office.

Farmed animals are protected by California’s state anti-cruelty laws, yet few agencies enforce them.


One of the dozens of birds with clearly untreated respiratory illness.

Another bird with respiratory illness. She is also severely malnourished.

This bird died in our arms, from malnutrition and sudden collapse.








About Animal Place Founded in 1989 Animal Place is one of the oldest and largest sanctuaries for farmed animals in the country, operating two facilities in northern California. Nestled on 600-acres in Grass Valley, CA, Animal Place's primary sanctuary provides refuge to hundreds of neglected farmed animals. Animal Place strives to create meaningful change for farmed animals through advocacy and education. Thousands of visitors flock to the sanctuary each year to learn more about the animals and farming. Volunteer classes introduce folks to more ways people can help. Internships are also available. For more information visit, www.animalplace.org or call 530-477-1757.

About Animal Place's Rescue Ranch Started in 2010 on the former 60-acre site of Animal Place's sanctuary, Rescue Ranch is a unique program that involves working directly with farmers and animal control agencies to take in farmed animals who would otherwise face slaughter or euthanasia. Each year, thousands of farmed animals, primarily chickens from the egg industry, are rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed.

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