Chickens, Other Animals, Returned to SPPA President
By Christine Heinrichs, SPPA Publicity Director, Christine.email@example.com
SPPA President Craig Russell and his wife Ruth were cleared of 15 of the 17 charges of animal maltreatment filed against them in Magisterial Court after a court appearance June 22. They anticipate that the remaining two charges, relating to cage birds, will be reversed on appeal.
The charges were instigated by Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals animal welfare officers, who led state police and an assistant district attorney in a raid on the Russells’ property March 21. They confiscated 154 animals that day.
After an initial court appearance June 14, the SPCA staff member who led the raid was fired. Subsequently, the other three SPCA staff members who were involved have been either fired or forced out.
The court ordered the SPCA to return 127 of the animals to the Russells. The remaining 27 are being held pending appeal of the remaining two charges. The SPCA returned 41 animals June 28 and promised that the rest would be returned June 29.
Mr. Russell was especially happy to collect his dogs, Taffy and Lucky. They were thin from their experience, but playful and joyful to be back home with their family. They are eating well and Mr. Russell expects they will soon regain the lost weight.