Animal cruelty charge filed in Simply Country case | TheUnion.com

Animal cruelty charge filed in Simply Country case

Prosecutors on Friday filed a felony charge of animal cruelty against Nicholas Chittock, general manager of two Simply Country locations, accusing him of depriving animals of food and shelter, Nevada County court records state.

The charge alleges that Chittock unlawfully deprived a piglet and birds of necessary sustenance, drink and shelter, subjecting them to needless suffering.

Chittock's arraignment in Nevada County Superior Court is scheduled for Dec. 18.

"The volume of deceased animals," District Attorney Cliff Newell said of the reason for filing the charge. "The statements from the two veterinary doctors involved. That the reason for most of the deceased birds was severe neglect and malnourishment and lack of water."

Chittock earlier this month said he'd never before faced accusations of neglect in over 50 years of business, adding that some people have blown the situation out of proportion.

The accusation stems from the Nov. 2 discovery of some 360 live birds that appeared malnourished and 58 dead ones from the Harvest Lane business in Rough and Ready. Nevada County Animal Control officers went to the business after receiving a tip about an injured piglet, authorities have said.

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Results remain pending on necropsies performed on the dead birds, Newell said.

Animal control officers took a majority of the living animals, mainly chickens, to Animal Place. About 20 parakeets went to Sammie's Friends.

Contacted Friday, Kim Sturla, executive director of Animal Place, referred all comment to the Sheriff's Office. Lt. Sam Brown, supervisor of animal control operations, referred comment to the District Attorney's Office.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.