(CNN) — Suspects in a bizarre burglary beat to death 920 chickens at a farm in central California earlier this month, authorities say.
The suspects pulled back a portion of the fence at the Foster Farms facility in Caruthers, California, on September 20 and “once they were inside… used a golf club, we believe, (or) possibly some other type of instrument, to maliciously kill several hundred chickens,” according to Deputy Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department.
In a statement, Foster Farms calls the random act of violence an “unconscionable act of animal cruelty.” The company is “working with local law enforcement on their investigation into this matter and is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the persons responsible for the crime.”
Curtice says evidence collected at the scene — including part of what authorities believe is a golf club used in the slayings — is a crucial clue that may help identify the suspects.
But they are also “asking for anyone’s help who might know anything about this,” he said.
Foster Farms operates more than 100 ranches along California’s Central Valley, according to its website. The company says it was the first major U.S. poultry producer to earn the American Humane Certification.
“It is the express policy of Foster Farms to treat its birds humanely and with compassion. Any intentional act to the contrary is unacceptable,” a company statement said.