An Ashcroft man who kept 10 cats in an unlit and windowless crawlspace was sentenced to a 90-day conditional sentence, including some house arrest.
Keith Kathrein and his spouse, Kelly Sulin, were sentenced Thursday, after SPCA investigators inspected their home in December, located on Bonaparte Indian reserve. They were living with Kathrein's mother.
Crown prosecutor Chris Balison said Kathrein admitted the couple's home was full of cats, hidden behind a trap door. Both he and Sullin are cat hoarders who have been in court several times for failing to provide proper care for as many as 25 cats living in their home.
"There was no light," Balison said. "There were cats living in crawlspace. They scurried away when the light came on."
SPCA seized the animals. A veterinarian later determined there was no evidence Kathrein abused the cats. Instead they were victims of neglect.
They were variously diagnosed with ear and lung infections as well as hair and teeth loss.
Last year, a provincial court judge banned them for three years from caring for more than one animal.
Sulin was sentenced by judge Stephen Harrison to a $500 fine for breaching the order.
Her spouse, Kathrein, was given a conditional sentence order of 90 days, including 30 days of house arrest. He is also not to consume alcohol and must take counselling as directed by a probation officer.
Harrison also prohibited him from owning an animal for 10 years and must pay a $500 fine.
Kathrein was also given a suspended sentence and 18 months probation for an altercation with RCMP at his home in July.
Seizure of cats from an abandoned ranch outbuilding in Ashcroft last year received widespread media attention. No charges have been laid in that case, however.
Balison said the building "was mysteriously being used to house hundreds of cats."