Sonoma County Sheriff's Office deputies and veterinarians searched the Reichardt Duck Farm in Petaluma Wednesday after the Mercy for Animals organization made allegations about animal cruelty, a sheriff's sergeant said.
The sheriff's office initially identified Sonoma County Poultry as the facility where the investigation of alleged animal cruelty occurred, but issued a correction Thursday morning.
"The deputies went to Reichardt Duck Farm on Middle Two Rock, Petaluma owned and operated by John Reichardt," the sheriff's office said.
"That business is in no way affiliated with Sonoma County Poultry -- a separate and distinct entity.
Absolutely no law enforcement was on their property, nor did any action take place there. The event took place at Reichardt Duck Farm only," the sheriff's office said.
A female member of Mercy of Animals was hired as a barn cleaner at Reichardt Duck Farm at 3770 Middle Two Rock Road and surreptitiously filmed the operation between July 7 and Aug. 7, according to Matt Rice, Mercy For Animals' director of investigations.
"She saw sick and injured ducks from day one," Rice said.
The video shows ducks with bleeding wounds and no access to food and water stuck in cage wire or trapped in manure pits, Rice said Thursday morning.
The undercover investigator for Mercy For Animals was able to record the animal cruelty with a hidden camera when she was not under direct supervision, Rice said.
"She reported them to management and they reacted with indifference," Rice said.
John Reichardt, the owner of Reichardt Duck Farm, did not return a phone call for comment Thursday morning.
Mercy for Animals presented video to the sheriff's office about two and a half months ago, Rice said.
Sheriff's deputies examined the information, obtained a search warrant and went to the duck farm at 10 a.m. Wednesday, sheriff's Sgt. Cecile Focha said.
Two deputies, a patrol sergeant, watch commander, crime scene investigator and Sonoma County Animal Care and Control officer served the search warrant, Focha said. They were accompanied by a local veterinarian, a Southern California veterinarian and expert with a post-doctoral degree with an emphasis in waterfowl sciences, Focha said.
At the duck farm they spoke with John Reichardt who was cooperative and provided full access to the property, Focha said. Reichardt guided the investigators on a tour and answered questions about the 200,000 ducks under his care and control, Focha said.
Preliminarily, the business was considered to be in compliance with industry standards and no arrests were made, Focha said.
"There was nothing that shocked anyone or caused an arrest or citation. We've never had a complaint there," Focha said.
The veterinarians and animal control officer will complete supplemental reports on their findings, Focha said.
The allegations are still under investigation and the results will be submitted to the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office for review, Focha said.