Sacramento animal control officials seized a couple hundred chickens they say were being housed in unsanitary conditions at a business on Franklin Boulevard -- and cited the owners of the birds.
Sacramento police responded to the business at 5824 Franklin Blvd. on Saturday evening after citizens reported a bad odor coming from the property. In a makeshift building, animal control officers, who were called in to assist, found hens and roosters without food or water in a transport cage.
The business owners were cited in the amount of $20,000 for not providing proper care for the animals and not providing clean quarters for the birds, according to a animal control press release.
The owners were told that authorities would return the next day to see if the conditions were up to city code. When animal control officers returned on Sunday, the business was closed and access to the birds was not possible.
On Monday morning, officers found a business owner trying to remove the chickens in a rented trailer. Sacramento police detained the business owner and 235 Rhode Island Red hens and roosters were turned over to Sacramento City Animal Control.
With the additional help of Sacramento County Animal Control and the Humane Society of the United States, the chickens now are properly housed with food, water and medical care. Veterinarian Jean Rabinowitz has helped with medical assessment.
The Humane Society of the United States has pledged to cover up to $5,000 for feed, shelter and veterinary care.
"City and state laws protect the welfare of all animals, not just dogs and cats," said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director with the Humane Society. "Animals raised for food deserve basic, humane treatment, and chickens certainly should not be kept unfed, without water, and crammed into dirty, barren cages where they can't stand up or move about for days."
The Humane Farming Association has agreed to take in all the hens and will be transporting them to their Northern California sanctuary. Sacramento Animal Control is seeking placement of 125 roosters at sanctuaries outside city limits.
City code does not allow ownership of roosters.