FRESNO, Calif. – Four teenagers were arrested in connection with the slaughter of chickens at a Foster Farms-owned chicken shed in nearby Caruthers, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office reported.
The teenagers range in age from 15 to 18 years old. They are alleged to have killed 920 chickens with a golf club and another similar weapon. Arrested were 18-year-old Gabriel Quintero of Riverdale, Calif., two juvenile males, ages 15 and 17 from Caruthers, and a third juvenile male, aged 17 from Lemoore, Calif.
Foster Farms commended the Fresno County Sheriff's Office and the public for taking swift action that led to the arrest of the perpetrators. The company said it will be working with local law enforcement to distribute a $5,000 reward.
“Foster Farms actively worked with law enforcement to facilitate the arrest of the individuals charged with this unconscionable act of animal cruelty,” said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms.
Media coverage of the incident generated several calls to the Sheriff's Office, Ag Task Force and CrimeStoppers. One tip led law enforcement officials to a three juvenile males living at a house. Detectives also learned that information about the attack was spread via social media.
"Evidence linking the juveniles to the crime was discovered at the home, and both juveniles were eventually taken into custody without incident," according to a press release from the Sheriff's office. "While there, detectives also developed information on two other possible suspects, one of which had been identified in the original tip."
Gabriel Quintero was taken to the Fresno County Jail where he was booked on charges of burglary and felony cruelty to animals, the press release stated.
The three juveniles were taken to Fresno Juvenile Justice Center where they were also booked on charges of burglary and felony cruelty to animals.