RSPCA seizes animals from cruelty case rescue centre

Herald Series: Crunchy’s animal rescue centre when it was raided by the RSPCA in January 2012 Crunchy’s animal rescue centre when it was raided by the RSPCA in January 2012

MORE than 50 animals have been seized after inspectors again raided a site previously at the centre of an animal cruelty case.

Police and animal welfare charity officers searched the former site of Crunchy’s Animal Rescue in Faringdon Road, Longworth, on Tuesday but the details were only released yesterday.

In July last year, those running Crunchy’s were convicted of neglect and banned from keeping animals.

Andy Robbins, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), said: “The RSPCA together with police officers visited an address on Tuesday following concerns about animals being kept there.

“We have taken five dogs, four bearded dragons, two parrots, 40 fish and one cat into RSPCA care after they were seized by police.

“As investigations are ongoing we cannot comment further at this time.”

The charity said six Thames Valley Police officers were involved in the 11am warrant which was carried out due to suspected crimes under the Animal Welfare Act.

Last night no arrests had been made.

The site, which was also known as Crunchies Rescue, was first raided in January 2012 and 95 animals were rescued including at least 50 of which were suffering from neglect.

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Following a three-week trial at Bicester Magistrates’ Court, Angela Russell, then 41, her son Robert, her father Frederick Russell, daughters Louise Russell and Kirsty Russell, and niece Abigail McHugh, were all found guilty of 16 animal neglect crimes.

District Judge Pattinson, sentencing in July, said the animals were living in “a sea of mud and faeces containing shocking and dangerous hazards”.

Angela Russell was jailed for 26 weeks. She was described by a judge as the driving force behind the centre and was said to be “totally unfit to care for animals”. She was banned from keeping animals for life along with her father who was given a suspended prison sentence.

Her son was jailed for 18 weeks and her daughters were given suspended sentences. All three were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Her niece, of Pendennis Road, Swindon, was told to do unpaid community work but not banned from keeping animals.

Angela Russell later lost an appeal against her sentence.

RSPCA inspectors returned to the site in August last year after receiving complaints that dogs were being kept there but no animals were found.

The site is owned by Sovereign Housing and spokesman Roy Probert yesterday said: “We have been liaising very closely with the RSPCA and were aware that they intended to visit the property again. In light of their action, we are now assessing what action we will take.”

Crunchies Animal Rescue was registered with the Charities Commission until June last year.

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