A judge on Tuesday ordered a five-month delay in the case of two people charged with cruelty toward hens at a former Carpenter Road egg farm.
Defendants Andy Yi Keunh Cheung and Lien Tuong Diep were to have started their preliminary hearing before Judge Thomas Zeff in Stanislaus Superior Court. Cheung was the owner of A&L Poultry, where authorities reported finding about 50,000 hens without feed in February 2012.
Diep’s attorney, Marlon Simon, said an unexpected schedule conflict did not allow him to proceed Tuesday, and the judge and other attorneys had conflicts over the next few months. They agreed to a Feb. 17 hearing.
A&L was about a half mile south of Fulkerth Road, west of Turlock. Public records indicate Diep operated Lucky Transportation Inc., a Ceres-based hauler for wholesale poultry products.
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Animal rights groups said they rescued 4,460 birds that survived, but about 460 of them died later because they were too weak or sick. Of the 40,000-plus hens that died, about a third starved and the rest were euthanized because of their poor condition, according to the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency.
Cheung and Diep each face one felony count of animal cruelty. When the hearing concludes, Zeff will rule on whether the evidence merits a trial. The defendants remain free on their own recognizance.
Cheung’s attorney, Martha Carlton-Magaña, has said her client was practicing within industry standards. An animal rights activist had made arrangements with A&L to pick up hens that were intended to be euthanized, but that did not happen, she said.