03/04/2014 11:56 EST | Updated 05/04/2014 05:59 EDT

Judge rejects idea of allowing hoarder to keep some animals

A provincial court judge in Fredericton has rejected a joint-sentencing recommendation that a Fredericton woman be allowed to keep a number of animals in her home after she pleaded guilty to animal neglect in a case that involved a variety of 144 animals.

Cynthia Ann Rubec was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to failing to properly provide for her animals.

A joint-sentencing recommendation by the Crown prosecutor and defence attorney recommended Rubec be given a sentence that included a provision she be permitted to keep 15 parrots, two cats and one dog.

However, Judge Julian Dickson rejected that recommendation and ruled Rubec not be allowed to keep any animals for one year.

Dickson said the joint recommendation was "so off the mark it would be contrary to the public interest."

Before being allowed to keep animals after the one-year period has expired, Dickson ordered that Rubec will have to present a written opinion from the psychologist stating that she is fit to keep animals.

Rubec was also fined $2,400 and given until March 2015 to pay.

Rubec was charged after an SPCA raid at her home at 8 Hossack St. in December resulted in 143 animals being seized, with the menagerie including dogs, cats, exotic birds, potbellied pigs and chinchillas.

"The animals were in deplorable, disgusting and grossly unsanitary conditions," said Dickson.

"I can only describe it as incredible cruelty."

The sentencing hearing last month heard Rubec had turned to animals to cope after the breakup of a personal relationship in 2000.

In time, people took advantage of her and left their unwanted animals with her, the court was told.

"It's fair to say Ms. Rubec couldn't say no," said Dickson. "She acted in kindness. The situation grew out of control."

Rubec stared at the floor for most of the sentencing hearing. She was in tears afterward.

The SPCA has been left with a veterinarian bill of about $10,000 to deal with the seized animals.