The ranch and its owner, Robert Hohberg, were charged with 39 misdemeanor counts of violating California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.
According to reports, the chickens were stuffed inside tiny cages where they can’t spread their wings and turn around. Some were found laying eggs on top of dead chickens and they were not properly safeguarded to prevent salmonella contamination.
Authorities also noted that the farm was filled with cob webs, debris and dirt. They even found a cat living inside one of the cages.
The investigation began after a complaint was received by the Inland Valley Humane Society in 2016.
“The overcrowded conditions these animals were forced to live in were cruel. It was a horrible existence. It’s a very inhumane situation. If you are going to harm animals here in the Inland Empire, we are going to hold you responsible,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos.
Hohberg will face up to 180 days in jail for each violation and a year for each animal cruelty count in the three reported farms.
“One of the reasons we filed this case was not only for this individual to make the changes and stop the suffering, but also for prevention. For other people, other ranchers, if you’re going to do this business, do it right,” Ramos said.