England

Animal rescue centre owner Lindsay Newell guilty of neglect

Lindsay Newell leaves court
Image caption Former veterinary nurse Lindsay Newell set up Burton Wildlife Rescue and Animal Centre

An animal rescue centre owner has been found guilty of six cruelty charges after an RSPCA raid.

Lindsay Newell, of Burton-upon-Trent, failed to check the welfare of several animals after they became emaciated.

At Stafford Magistrates' Court she was handed a two-year conditional discharge, banned from keeping certain animals and made to pay £2,000 costs.

The judge said the neglect was not deliberate and she was cleared of 25 charges of failing to feed animals.

The court found Newell did not monitor the weight loss of six animals at Burton Wildlife Rescue and Animal Centre in Etwall, Derbyshire.

Image caption There were too many animals and too few staff at the rescue centre, the court heard

One of the animals she failed to check was a pig, nicknamed Babe, who was rescued from a Derby council house and made national headlines.

It died in front of RSPCA officers' eyes during a raid with police in November 2012.

District judge David Taylor said the 27-year-old, of Lincoln Road, Stapenhill, put herself under pressure and financial strain because of her desire to help animals.

"They were not deliberate, intentional acts. They were a consequence of you trying to take on too many animals of a wide range," he said.

The court heard Newell spent £300 a week on food and straw out of her own earnings as a veterinary nurse. She has since lost her job.

Defence lawyer Nigel Weller said his client now wanted to dedicate her life to running the sanctuary.

Newell was disqualified for five years from keeping sheep, goats, pigs and equine animals.

But the rescue centre remains open with hundreds of animals including cats, pigeons, chickens, rabbits and crows.

The RSPCA said it cost £20,000 to investigate the case and bring Newell to court. She will have to pay £2,000 in costs.

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