Rabbit Breeder Found Guilty Of Animal Cruelty

200 Sick Rabbits Seized From Six Bells Farm

A jury has found a rabbit breeder guilty of 35 counts of animal cruelty.

Authorities seized 200 severely sick rabbits from Debe Bell's Six Bells Farm in Arvada last July.

During the raid, investigators found some rabbits had died in an overheated, 84-degree shed, where the animals were kept in cages deep in feces, Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Mark Techmeyer said.

Some rabbits were described as "aggressively thirsty" because they lacked ample water and food, he said.

Many were severely matted, some with urine and feces matted and caked into their fur, prosecutors said.

Bell had previously been licensed as a small animal breeder, but at the time the rabbits were removed from her property she was not licensed, prosecutors said.

Bell was charged with 55 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. A jury found her guilty of 35 counts. She was found not guilty of animal cruelty in the deaths of 20 rabbits found in a freezer on the farm's property.

Bell's website last summer said she had been "raising rabbits since 1982, both with my kids in 4-H and open shows. I am one of the Bunny Ladies from the National Western Stock Show having been involved with the NWSS for more than 12 years."

Sentencing has been scheduled for March. She faces up to 18 months in jail for each count.

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