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Operators of a Turlock chicken farm accused of abandoning some 50,000 hens in 2012 have been barred from ever working with animals again, according to a civl suit settlement announced by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Owner Andy Cheung and manager Lien Diep ran A & L Poultry in the Stanislaus County town. They have been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly abandoning the egg-producing hens, leaving them without food and water for two weeks. Most of the chickens, who were found in February 2012, died from starvation or were put down because of poor condition.

Three animal rescue groups saved about 5,000 hens which have since been restored to health and adopted, according to Animal Place, one of the rescuers.

Felony animal cruelty charges are pending against Cheung and Deip. Animal Place spokesperson Gary Smith says if convicted of the charges, each man faces up to three years in prison and fines of up to $20,000.

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