SACRAMENTO - Animal control officers seized 200 chickens from a south Sacramento market Monday.
Saturday night, Sacramento police responded to a call of a strong odor coming from behind the Franklin Market on Franklin Boulevard. When they arrived, they discovered an estimated 400 chickens in cages, ready to be sold.
Animal control officers cited one of the store's co-owners, former Sacramento city council candidate Misty Yaj, $20,000 for violations of city code 9.44.250 (Care of animals -Food, water, etc. to be provided) and 9.44.260 (Cleanliness of animal quarters), said Gina Knepp, city of Sacramento Animal Care and Control shelter manager.
When animal control officers went to seize the chickens Monday, half of the chickens were gone. Animal control officers believe the chickens had been sold.
Yaj had no comment Monday, but another one of the store's co-owners, Kenny Muchahari, said the sale of the chickens was legal.
"We sell live chickens and there's nothing wrong with that. We're doing business to serve the community. That's all we do," said Muchahari.
Selling live chickens was not the issue, however. The living conditions of the chickens is what prompted officials to seize the remaining birds.
"This isn't about whether people eat meat or no, it's about how an animal is treated, and that's why we're out here today," said Knepp.
Investigators were also looking into whether any chickens were killed at the market, which is against city code.
"It is illegal within the city of Sacramento city limits to slaughter animals, so I believe that investigation will continue," said Jennifer Fearing, California State Director, Humane Society of the United States.
Whether any chickens had been killed at the market has yet to be determined, but Muchahari maintained all of the chickens sold at the market were alive at the time of the transaction.
"The chickens usually get sent to up to the processing place to kill them," said Muchahari.