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City may close Rosemead fresh poultry shop

January 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Rosemead City Council voted unanimously to shut down the Chinese American Live Poultry shop, but that decision has many customers saying the city has gone too far.The shop is one of the last places in Los Angeles County where you can buy fresh, plucked chickens, but the city of Rosemead wants to shut it down due to code violations.

It's a busy business where hundreds of customer line up to get chicken. For many Asian-Americans, it's part of the culture to buy chickens with the legs and head intact.

"To us, that means unity, a family unity. So when we have a family meal, it has to have everything as a whole," said store owner Dana Phu.

Phu and her husband have owned the Rosemead store for 20 years, but the city apparently wants to shut it down. The planning commission recently voted 4-0 to do just that.

Phu said that she was not aware that they city voted to have her store shut down. She said she only found out when her customers asked her why she was closing the store.

"We had no idea," said Phu.

City officials said they've received complaints from neighbors about the smell and about the code violations.

"When I come out form the house in the morning, I cannot breathe sometimes. It stinks. It makes you sick," said one neighbor.

"My goal is to make sure that we find a reasonable way of dealing with the situation that would make the residents happy and make our business owners around here happy as well," said Steven Ly of the Rosemead City Council. "So removing the business is one of our options."

"I think the city is singling us out. I guess they don't like us or understand our culture," said Phu.

Phu also said that the city has issued her a business license, and her store passed USDA inspections. So she doesn't understand why they'd want to shut her store down.

"I can't find another place such as this, so hopefully, this store can keep opening," said Toshiko Kodama of Pasadena.

"The chicken is fresh, and I know it little bit smells, but that's just because it's chicken," said Manuela Ornelas of Rosemead.

The city council is expected to take up this issue and vote on it this month.