Animal Rescue Owners Avoid Jail in Plea Deal

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BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) -- Owners of an Alabama pet rescue where hundreds of animals were found malnourished, dead or dying last year will be allowed to avoid jail time in a plea deal struck with prosecutors.

Reports say Roberta and Sharon Dueitt pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges Friday. Authorities say 71 dogs and 46 cats were saved from their Summerdale pet rescue , called The Purple Hearted Puppies, in January 2012.

The deal requires the rescue's mother and daughter owners to pay $100,000 to the Baldwin County Humane Society, spend five years on supervised probation and have no contact with animals during that time.

The women's defense attorney, Thomas Pilcher, says they had good intentions but the rescue business "got to be too big and it got over their heads."