Confronted with an overwhelming smell of urine and excrement, an animal welfare inspector with more than 35 years experience was dry retching when he entered a cottage full of cats.
On March 5, 2007, the SPCA searched a Heretaunga Rd property between Woodville and Dannevirke, owned by David Neil Balfour, 62, and his wife Daryl Kirsty Reid Balfour, 50.
Inspectors found 161 cats and 87 dogs they allege were being ill-treated.
At the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, James Boyd, SPCA officer in charge of the case, said among the animals discovered four years ago were cats kept in a dimly lit and poorly ventilated cottage.
''The smell here was quite horrible ... I was retching. My eyes were stinging, my nasal passages were sore."
David and Daryl Balfour are each facing four charges – two of ill-treating animals and two of failing to prevent suffering.
The charges cover the period between August 23, 2006, and March 5 the following year. Both Balfours entered not guilty pleas to all charges at the start of their trial in front of Judge Grant Fraser.
In his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Paul Murray said the Balfours ran a dog and cat breeding operation on a property that was formerly a pig farm..." More
photo: WARWICK SMITH