Oxford

Pair jailed for cruelty to animals at Oxfordshire rescue centre

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

A mother and son have been jailed for neglecting animals at their family-run rescue centre in Oxfordshire.

RSPCA officers had described conditions at Crunchy's Animal Rescue in Faringdon Road, Longworth, near Abingdon, as "some of the worst they had ever seen".

Angela Russell, 44, and son Robert, 25, were jailed for 26 and 18 weeks respectively at Oxford Magistrates' Court.

They were each banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Sentencing Angela Russell, district Judge Tim Pattinson said he believed her to be the "prime mover" in the neglect.

He said: "There is no way an animal lover could allow such profound neglect of this type."

In total six family members who worked at the centre were each convicted of 16 animal welfare offences following a trial at Bicester Magistrates' Court.

They include Angela Russell's father Frederick, 81, daughters Louise, 22, Kirsty, 21, and niece Abigail McHugh, 21.

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

The RSPCA had issued warnings to the Russells, who ran the centre as a registered charity, as early as April 2010, calling for improvements.

But when animal welfare officers raided the site in January 2012 they found "a horse eating from a wheelie bin", "dogs in cages of their own faeces" and "horses with hooves that hadn't been cut in three years", according to RSPCA inspector Kirsty Withnall.

A total of 80 animals were seized in the three-day operation.

Mrs Russell's father Frederick, 81, of Longworth, was given a 26-week jail term suspended for 18 months and banned from keeping animals for life.

Kirsty Russell, from Longworth, was given a four-month community order with a curfew and Louise Russell, from Longworth, was given a 12-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months.

Both defendants were banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

Abigail McHugh, from Swindon, was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work.

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