SAVAGE, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged the president of a Savage-based rabbit rescue nonprofit with animal cruelty and torture after police discovered nearly 50 dead rabbits in a barn.
The Star Tribune reported Tuesday that police arrived at the barn on June 27 to investigate reports of sick and dead rabbits. According to a criminal complaint, they found 47 dead rabbits, scores of rabbits running loose, some that had burrowed into manure, one rabbit with a broken back and a baby rabbit infested with maggots.
Peacebunny Foundation President Stephanie Smith told investigators that the animals' condition was “not appropriate" and another group was planning to pick up the loose bunnies, according to the complaint.
She wrote in a blog post Saturday that Peacebunny Foundation is ceasing all its programs and pledged not to obtain any new rabbits or spend foundation money on her legal defense. She's due to make her first court appearance Aug. 22.
Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar said the Humane Society is caring for the 200 or so rabbits found in the barn.
Smith's 18-year-old son, Caleb Smith, owns the foundation. His efforts to save rabbits has generated considerable media attention, including from People Magazine and NBC's “Today Show.” He wrote in a blog post Saturday that he was sorry “the last chapter seems so ugly right now.”