Two trustees of an animal rescue charity and four members of their family have been convicted of animal cruelty after a prosecution by the RSPCA.
Crunchy’s Animal Rescue, also know as Crunchies Rescue, based in Longworth, Oxfordshire, was registered with the Charity Commission in 2006 to provide "cover, protection, treatment and security for animals which are in need of care and attention".
After a prosecution by the RSPCA, Frederick Russell and his daughter Angela Russell, both trustees of the charity, were found guilty at Bicester Magistrates’ Court on Monday of causing unnecessary suffering to 11 animals, a statement from the RSPCA said.
Three of Angela’s children – Louise Russell, Kirsty Russell and Robert Russell – and Angela’s niece, Abigail McHugh, who all had roles in caring for the animals at the charity, were convicted of the same charges, the RSPCA said.
The RSPCA’s statement said the defendants were also found guilty of five charges each of failing to meet the welfare needs of 39 animals, including 16 dogs that were found in filthy kennels and two goats that were kept knee-deep in faeces in a damaged horsebox.
The RSPCA said it visited the charity in December 2011 and January 2012 after receiving complaints about the welfare of the animals it housed.
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said the animals had either been returned to their owners if they were privately boarded at Crunchy’s or rehomed. Horse welfare charity World Horse Welfare took on the care of six of the horses, she said.
A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said the regulator opened an operational compliance case into the charity in January 2012 after it became aware that the trustees of the charity were facing trial for alleged animal cruelty offences.
She said the case was closed on 18 June and the charity was removed from the regulator’s register on the same day. She said the charity was removed from the register under the assumption that it no longer existed because it had not filed any accounts with the regulator.
Third Sector was unable to contact anyone at the charity for comment.