Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Monday, December 11, 2000

Chicken farmer to pay fine for animal cruelty

EVERETT -- A chicken farmer whose operation was criticized by animal-rights groups has pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to animals and must pay a $500 fine.

Keith Amberson, 52, of Lake Stevens, was sentenced Friday by Everett District Court Judge Tom Kelly. He must also perform 200 hours of community service and will not be able to keep farm animals for two years.

Animal-rights activists have raided Amberson's 20-acre farm east of Everett twice in the past two years to rescue chickens they said wer dying from lack of food and water. After the most recent raid in March, sheriff's deputies said they found about 1,000 dead chickens in a rat-infested chicken house, along with inoperable feeding and watering systems.

"This is a really crucial victory for the millions of hens in Washington that are forced to live their lives caged up in little, tiny, cramped cages where they are never allowed to smell fresh air and stretch their wings," said Mark Steinway, a co-founder of Pasado's Safe Haven animal rescue group.

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