Judge extends temporary restraining order on slaughterhouse

Posted at: 01/03/2014 11:45 AM
Updated at: 01/03/2014 9:55 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A judge on Friday extended a temporary restraining order on Valley Meat Company. The Attorney General filed for the restraining order, saying the company would violate state laws.

In court on Friday, Judge Matthew Wilson spoke frankly. "The equities in this case weigh heavily on both sides," Wilson said.

Wilson agreed that both sides need more time to present detailed evidence, and acknowledged that any final decision will have widespread impact.

"The food being introduced into the food supply, that may be harmful to the human population," Wilson said.

Valley Meat owner Rick De Los Santos promptly disputed those concerns.

"I believe it's safe.  I'd feed it to my family," he said.

He cannot definitively say he'd closely follow state law. He's violated it in years past by not submitting required reports to the state on time.

"There's no guarantee that something like that doesn't happen again as far as missed turning in monitoring reports," De Los Santos said.

He also said his facility would not open Saturday, saying that he'd need ten days to fix up the plumbing system and install a septic tank.

Judge Wilson extended the restraining order until January 13, ten days from now. That's when Valley Meat and the attorney general's office will take part in another hearing that's expected to last an entire day. They will both bring witnesses to the stand to testify.