NEVADA CITY, Calif. December 27, 2017 – A plea deal was reached this afternoon in an alleged animal cruelty/neglect case resulting from a welfare check on animals located at a business in the 10000 block of Harvest Lane in Rough & Ready in early November. Nevada County Sheriff’s Animal Control Officers seized a number of live birds and removed dead bird carcasses from the business. The owner, Nic Chittock, was initially charged with felony cruelty to animals.

A preliminary hearing was set for tomorrow, but a plea deal was reached and the case heard today. Chittock plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of PC 597 l (a), which is geared towards pet shops.

Nevada County Superior County Judge Tice-Raskin accepted the plea and sentenced Chittock to one year of court probation. Mr. Chittock will be required to undertake improvements to the holding areas of the businesses – which are already underway according to Chittock’s attorney Greg Klein. Chittock has hired a PhD in Poultry Science to provide recommendations as to the feed and care of the chickens, according Klein.

Judge Tice-Raskin further set as a condition that Chittock follow the recommendation of the the poultry specialist, be subject to search and seizure at any time in relation to the care of the animals. A total fine of $597.50 was also imposed. The original felony charge was dismissed.

At his arraignment on December 18th, a large number of supporters were present as he entered a not guilty plea. Today, only three members of the public were present. Two were affiliated with AnimalPlace who took in the seized birds. They stated they were present to bear witness to today’s proceedings. Cheryl Wiggs, Sammy’s Freinds Executive Director, was also present. She stated she was pleased the charges were taken seriously and not just dismissed and pointed to progress in recognizing and prosecuting animal cruelty or neglect cases.

December 27, 2017 at 2:27 PM Update

Cliff Newell, Nevada County District Attorney, announced today:

On December 27, 2017, Nick Chittock of Simply Country Feed Store entered a “no contest” plea to single misdemeanor count of Penal Code section 597l(a), failing to provide adequate care. The initial complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office alleged a felony cruelty charge based on the thorough investigation by Animal Control Officers and forensic testing of the deceased poultry.

The negotiated resolution came after Mr. Chittock engaged a commercial poultry expert and agreed to provide a remediation plan to bring Simply Country up to acceptable commercial standards for raising, keeping and selling poultry. Mr. Chittock will pay a fine, agrees to restitution for related investigative costs and be on summary court probation for 12 months. During the probation period Nevada County Animal Control Officers will have access to his business to confirm the level of care is up to standard.