Published on NZ Hearald October 17 2014
An Auckland man who crammed 38 dead cats into his freezer has been allowed to keep his three surviving felines but banned from acquiring any more.
Donald Cruickshank, 80, was charged with failing to care for his pets after an SPCA visit in December 2010 found him living with the animals in squalid conditions.
There were more than 50 cats at his Glenfield home and investigators said they were almost suffocated by a strong smell of ammonia, food and faeces from 19 cats which were running freely around the lounge and bedroom.
Another 17 were locked in cages with litter trays overflowing, and 23 were discovered in a fly-infested locked unit downstairs.
In two freezer units, inspectors found 38 dead cats wrapped in blood-stained newspaper and fabric bags, piled in next to his food.
When spoken to, Cruickshank said he had attempted to preserve the pets so their spirits would be with him forever.
The court case, which has lasted more than three years, has been blighted by numerous adjournments.
Cruickshank has been through several lawyers and flip-flopped between guilty and not guilty pleas but this morning in the Auckland District Court, he was finally sentenced.
Judge Russell Collins ordered him to do 40 hours of community work and pay $100 to Auckland SPCA.