A former New Zealand Kennel Club dog-show judge and his wife have been banned from owning or caring for animals for 20 years.
David and Daryl Balfour were each convicted in December last year on three animal-cruelty charges, after the SPCA found 87 dogs and 161 cats in cramped conditions with insufficient shelter, water, lighting and ventilation on a property near Dannevirke in 2007.
The couple kept the animals as part of a breeding operation.
SPCA senior operations inspector Jim Boyd said the animals were forced to live in a "very horrible'' environment.
Half of the animals were put down as a result of the ill-treatment, and about 50 cats were treated by a veterinary surgeon. Some of the cats took up to three years to recover fully from the abuse.
The Balfours were each found guilty of three charges: two of failure to ensure the physical health and behavioural needs of the cats and dogs they bred, and one of ill treatment of cats.
The couple appeared for sentencing in the Palmerston North District Court today.
Judge Grant Fraser sentenced them to fines of $12,500 each, as well as disqualifying them from owning or caring for animals for 20 years.
An exception was made for pets they currently owned or replaced.
Judge Fraser ordered that the fines be paid wholly to the SPCA.
In summing up, he accepted that the pair were of good character, and that their offending "came about as a consequence of circumstances,'' but said that it nevertheless had a major impact on the animals.
"There can be absolutely no doubt that this is serious offending of its type.''
"Your behaviour was not wilful,'' the judge continued, "but fell well short of the standards expected, and animals suffered. It is necessary for the court to make you accountable for the harm you did the animals.''
The Balfours were also ordered to pay court costs.