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Crunchy's Animal Rescue Centre staff convicted of cruelty

Conditions at Crunchy's Rescue
Image caption RSPCA officers described the conditions as "some of the worst they had ever seen"

Six staff members at an animal rescue centre have been convicted of nearly 100 counts of animal cruelty.

RSPCA officers described conditions at Crunchy's in Oxfordshire as "some of the worst they had ever seen".

Six members of the same family who worked at the centre in Faringdon Road, Longworth, near Abingdon, were each convicted of 16 charges.

Two men were cleared of the charges against them following a trial at Bicester Magistrates' Court.

Angela Russell, 44, and her father Frederick, 81, were found guilty alongside her children, Robert, 25, Louise, 22, and Kirsty, 20.

Angela Russell's niece Abigail McHugh, 21, of Swindon, was also convicted.

Daniel Bunyan, 24, of Abingdon, and Peter Russell, 41, were found not guilty. All eight defendants denied the charges.

'Animal disaster'

RSPCA officers removed 29 dogs, 13 horses and a number of chickens, goats, cats, ducks and a cockerel from the rescue centre during a three-day operation in January 2012.

Image caption Golden retriever Winston was one of 29 dogs rescued from the centre by RSPCA inspectors

A dead horse and rabbit were also found. A post-mortem examination found the horse had pieces of rubbish in its stomach.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector Kirsty Withnall said: "We found filthy, disgusting conditions where animals were being kept amongst all sorts of hazardous items without food and water.

"Many of these animals had been entrusted to the care of the defendants by loving owners.

"Instead of the care promised, the animals were left in dirty, broken down buildings without veterinary treatment or access to basic care.

District judge Tim Pattinson commended the team of inspectors for their hard work.

He said: "Crunchy's was an animal disaster, a sea of mud and faeces containing shocking and dangerous hazards.

"In short, it was a rescue centre from which animals needed to be rescued."

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