A BURTON woman broke down in court as she talked of the day police officers and RSPCA officials raided her animal sanctuary.
Lindsay Newell, of Lincoln Road, Stapenhill, wept as she took to the stand at Stafford Magistrates’ Court accused of causing unnecessary suffering to more than 30 animals.
Newell told the court how she was ‘intimidated’ and ‘shocked’ when she learned that Burton Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre, in Etwall, had been raided in November 2012.
She told the court that volunteers had got to the centre before her.
The 27-year-old said: “Everyone flocked to the sanctuary. It had kicked off on Facebook, with people asking why the Burton Mail were at the front door.”
She said the running of the sanctuary, set up in 2008, was mostly funded from her own wages and run by herself and volunteers. The court heard she would take animals home with her from a veterinary practice where she used to work to prevent them being put down.
She told the court: “Rescuing is the main part of what we do, so if an animal is trapped down a drain or an animal has been shot, or a fox is trapped in a fence, we would rescue them – things that normal members of the public can’t deal with.”
Newell also claimed that certain volunteers were in charge of certain animals. She said Sarah Levy, who gave evidence on Tuesday, had been responsible for the rabbits at the centre.
However, Mrs Levy said in her evidence that nobody had been put in charge of any particular animals.
Newell told the court that, in June 2012, she started working on a farm at a school in Ashby for autistic children, which involved fewer hours – meaning she could give more time to the centre.
She said her earnings were spent on the sanctuary, which costs £2,000 in rent a year and £400 a week on animal food.
Following the raid, national chain Pets at Home pulled out of a funding scheme for the site.
Newell was asked about the animals at the centre of the case, including a Canada goose which was found to have no foot.
She said she dressed its leg and administered antibiotics on the advice of a vet and intended to take it to the sanctuary, where it would have remained.
The prosecution concluded its case yesterday, with four witnesses taking to the stand to give evidence. They included a vet and three RSPCA officers.
An X-ray of a cockerel’s foot was shown to the court. The bird had ‘bumblefoot’, a condition that vet Caroline Johnson called ‘non-recoverable’, and the bird had to be put down.