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