THE owner of Burton Wildlife and Animal Rescue Centre has strongly denied that animals under her care were underfed and in need of veterinary attention.
Lindsay Newell, of Lincoln Road, Stapenhill, took to the witness box on day four of her trial at Stafford Magistrates’ Court where she answered questions from the defence and prosecution for more than four hours in a case brought by the RSPCA.
Newell stands accused of causing unnecessary suffering to animals at the centre in Etwall. It followed a raid by the RSPCA and police in November 2012.
She was asked about each of the animals that made up the charges – 31 in total.
During her evidence she often referred to the animals in question as having been frolicking, running around and eating and drinking when she had seen them the day before the raid.
She replied ‘No’ to all questions about whether she had failed to provide an adequate diet, therefore causing suffering to the animals.
When asked about a pig called ‘Babe’ that had died during the raid, she said she had noticed the pig was thin but put it down to piglets suckling on her.
Nigel Weller, defending, asked whether her qualifications as a veterinary nurse meant she was reluctant to use vets. She said: “To some degree, but if I felt something was really quite bad we would take it to the vets.”
She told the court that she had been made redundant from her job in Ashby and still ran the sanctuary, where she had 300 animals.
In cross examination, Dingle Clark, prosecuting for the RSPCA, put to her that on the day of the raid inspectors had found a dead sheep and dead rabbit.
A pig died during the visit and a lamb died later that night.
He asked whether she had any reason for concern prior to that about any of the animals, to which she replied that she had not.
He said: “Do you see that there are a whole series of animals that were underfed.”
Newell replied: “No. I don’t agree with that, that’s not true – they were always fed.”
Mr Clark continued: “The fact that more than one died on that day, is that coincidence?”
She replied: “It has never happened before and it hasn’t happened since.”
The five-day trial resumes on Wednesday when a defence expert will give evidence.
District Judge David Taylor said he would be unlikely to be able to give a verdict on Wednesday.
(The trial continues)