Vic puppy farm family fined for cruelty

AAP
Victorian puppy farm owners have been convicted of 240 animal cruelty charges and fined $185,000.

The family owners of a Victorian puppy farm that housed 230 dogs in filthy wire cages have been fined $185,000 and banned from owning animals for 10 years.

John, Phyllis and Dean Peace have been convicted of 240 animal cruelty charges in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court.

Their Pyramid Hill property was raided in 2013 and hundreds of dogs freed from cages where they lived in their own filth and were severely underweight.

Many of the dogs weren't able to be properly examined at the time because they were too afraid of people.

"This case has brought to light the hidden suffering of dogs in these facilities, but this is the tip of the iceberg," RSPCA Victoria inspectorate manager Allie Jalbert said on Thursday.

The Peace family will also have to pay legal costs of $67,130 to the RSPCA.

They have been banned from owning animals for 10 years, although Dean Peace is allowed to own two desexed working dogs.

"We are disappointed to see that they were able to keep two working dogs, (but) we have to respect the magistrate's decision," Ms Jalbert said.

"Our job now is to be there to enforce the terms of the 10-year banning orders and to ensure that the two dogs are being looked after."

Ms Jalbert said it was up to the community to tell the RSPCA about puppy farms.

"The community has the strongest voice in refusing to buy dogs or puppies from online sources, newspapers or pet shops and we rely on the community to help us to send the message that puppy factories will not be tolerated," she said.

The RSPCA said the animals rescued from the Peaces are leading "happy and healthy lives" after being rescued and rehabilitated.