CRIME
02/27/2014 01:34 pm ET Updated Feb 27, 2014

A Canine Horror Story: 64 Dying Dogs Held Hostage In Buildings Without Windows

Peter Chernecki and his wife Judith hoarded 64 dogs and more than 40 cats. The animals were found covered in feces and malnourished. At least 34 of the dogs were so far gone they had to be euthanized.

The Canadian couple pleaded guilty in April 2013 to seven counts related to animal abuse. This week, Peter was sentenced to four months in jail, and his wife was slapped with a $21,500 fine, CBC reports. The two have been banned from owning animals for five years, and they were given two weeks to find homes for dozens of cats they still have.

July 2010 was the beginning of the end for their dark story of animal abuse. Authorities discovered dozens of starving pets at the couple's property in Gull Lake, northeast of Winnipeg.

Their dogs were kept inside two buildings with no windows and were never allowed outside. Only two puppies were found. Authorities speculate that the neglected adult dogs were eating the newborns, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

Reporter Lindor Reynolds had more details on the horrid conditions:

Peter Chernecki built shelves inside the room to add more space for the animals. The result was a relatively safe perch for the dominant dogs, removed from the puddles of urine, piles of feces and the worst of the fighting. The little ones couldn't get up there.

Many of the dogs are scarred. One had a gash so deep you could see its skull. That dog was euthanized the first night after seizure.

Only some of them are adoptable. Many more will have to be euthanized, either because they're too injured or too aggressive.

"Those dogs were in a hellhole," McDonald says flatly. "They're not friendly at all. They're not socialized. They've never seen a leash. They've never been taken for a walk."

The animals were reportedly being fed, but not in a controlled, organized way.

The couple has maintained that they were trying to help out a bunch of stray animals that were left in a local landfill. Their lawyer initially asked that they receive probation rather than fines and jail time.

"This is the worst case of animal neglect I've seen in respect to animal hoarding in 14 years as a vet," Dr. Colleen Marion of the Chief Veterinarian's office told the Winnipeg Sun.

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10 Worst States For Animal Abuse Laws
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