Minnesota teenager famous for rescuing rabbits faces charges

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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 on 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 rabbits dead, dozens of rabbits loose, some burrowing in manure, a rabbit with a broken back and a baby rabbit infested with maggots.

Peacebunny Foundation President Stephanie Smith told investigators that the condition of the animals was “not appropriate” and that another group planned to retrieve the loose rabbits, according to the complaint.

She wrote in a post-Saturday blog post that the Peacebunny Foundation is ending all of its programs and pledged not to get new bunnies or spend the foundation’s money on her legal defense. She is due to make her first court appearance on August 22.

Scott County District Attorney Ron Hocevar said the Humane Society was caring for the approximately 200 rabbits found in the barn.

Smith’s 18-year-old son, Caleb Smith, owns the foundation. Her efforts to save rabbits have garnered media attention, including People Magazine and NBC’s “Today Show.” He wrote in a post-Saturday blog that he was sorry “the last chapter looks so ugly right now.”

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