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Dog-hoarding couple due in court today

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A Gull Lake couple who admitted to hoarding dogs in horrific conditions on their Gull Lake property are due back in provincial court today and may learn their fates.

Peter and Judith Chernecki are slated to appear this afternoon.

Judge Carena Roller reserved her decision in December on what punishments the pair should receive. They pleaded guilty to a number of Animal Care Act violations.

The Crown is seeking four months of jail time plus fines for Peter Chernecki, 63, and fines and probation against Judith Chernecki, 62.

Sixty-four dogs discovered living in atrocious conditions were seized from the Chernecki's property in July 2010 after provincial animal protection officers and RCMP arrived there to investigate an animal welfare complaint, court previously heard.

Of 64 dogs that officials seized, 34 of them had to be euthanized.

Virtually all the hoarded canines were found living in darkness in a 672 sq-ft. cabin, its floor covered in a "wet paste" of straw, mud and excrement. Investigators also uncovered a live nest of about 30-40 rats which the dogs lived with, prosecutors said.

Their defence lawyer urged that the couple were animal lovers who got in over their heads by taking in too many strays. They were trying to rescue the animals, Jay Prober said.

"Judy and Peter Chernecki are not criminals," said Prober. "They appeared to be trying to rescue the dogs... (the Crown) wants them treated as criminals," he said.

The Free Press will be at the hearing and will update this story.

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