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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Pennsylvania SPCA rescued 300 baby chickens that were reportedly abandoned in a vacant Northeast Philadelphia lot.

After receiving several calls, the PSPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Department responded to the 5500 block of Whitaker Avenue on Saturday morning.

Investigators from the PSPCA moved in carefully to collect them with volunteers from Liberation Philly there to help.

“We went there, we found out it was just babies, they were just maybe three or four days old,” said Mansi Bhagwate.

Mansi Bhagwate with Liberation Philly says she was one of several people who called the PSPCA over the last few days after seeing more than 300 chicks in a makeshift shelter with nothing but a tarp overhead.

“The problem with that is plastic tarps heat and because of that it’s very intense, it was very humid in there,” said Bhagwate.

Credit: PSPCA

The owner arrived shortly after officers.

Officials say the owner planned to take over the lot, which is owned by adjoining businesses, and start raising the chickens for food resale.

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However, he did not contact the property owner and failed to provide the chickens with proper housing or feeding stations.

Officers rescued 300 baby chickens and transported them to the organization’s Juniata Park location where they will be cared for and ultimately placed in adoptive homes or with approved rescues.

“We found hundreds of baby chicks had been left in an unsuitable empty lot across from a shopping center,” said Nicole Wilson, the PSPCA’s Director of Humane Law Enforcement. “The owner admitted to having chicks there for days and having numerous chicks lost through transportation and inadequate housing. The owner estimated that he had lost over 1,000 chicks prior to the discovery of the birds.”

Credit: PSPCA

Anyone with information regarding this case, or other cases involving animal cruelty, is asked to contact the PSPCA Cruelty Hotline at 866-601-SPCA.