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Fresh chicken shop in Rosemead could be closed by city

July 6, 2012 12:38:11 AM PDT
The Chinese American Live Poultry shop is often a busy place where customers go to buy fresh chickens.

For a number of Asian Americans, it's part of their culture and religion to buy a chicken fresh with the legs and head intact. Owner Dana Phu says it's been a tradition for over 1,000 years.

"When you have a whole chicken with head and feet attached, that means unity of the family, without any missing part of the chicken," said Phu. "Because if there is any missing part of the chicken, that means something bad will happen to the family."

But the city of Rosemead wants to shut down the establishment because the chickens are slaughtered there as well. City officials say the operation results in foul odors.

No one from the city was available for an interview Friday, but City Attorney Rachel Richmond did speak to ABC7 over the phone.

"From the city attorney's perspective, we drafted an ordinance of what we believe are appropriate land use regulations in the city of Rosemead and a slaughterhouse is not one of those uses," she said.

Phu filed a suit in federal court saying the city's attempt to shut them down is racial and religious discrimination. The judge allowed the business to stay open until this issue is resolved in court, saying even the city's own tests found no problems with odors and no health code violations.

"I'm hoping the city will understand our kind of business and work with us. That's what we've been hoping for. This case has been dragging on for a long time," said Phu.

Customers said they don't understand why this is happening.

"They don't really affect anything, what's the reason for the city to shut them down?" said Aaron Zheng of Rosemead. "I wish the city would give us a good reason to shut them down."

The Phus said they will fight the city for as long as it takes. They said it is more than just a business - it's their culture.


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