A well-known dog show judge and his wife have been found guilty of mistreating almost 250 animals.

David Neil Balfour and wife Daryl Kirsty Reid Balfour allegedly kept 161 cats and 87 dogs in cramped conditions at their Manawatu property with insufficient shelter, water, lighting and ventilation.

The couple kept the animals as part of a breeding operation at a former pig farm near Dannevirke.

They were today found guilty in Palmerston North District Court of three animal cruelty charges - two charges each of failing to prevent suffering to cats and dogs, and one charge of ill-treating the cats.

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They were found not guilty of ill-treating the dogs.

The mistreatment allegedly took place between August 2006 and March 2007, but the long-running case was held up by protracted legal wrangling.

Balfour, a former dog show judge with the New Zealand Kennel Club, and his wife will be sentenced in February.