A French couple has been given a one-year suspended sentence for keeping dozens of animals in closed spaces in a case pertaining to animal cruelty.

The couple occupied an 80 square meter (861 square foot) apartment with 159 cats and seven dogs, as per BBC.

The judge ruled that the couple had not given the animals proper care. The investigation found animals living in filth, many of them malnourished, dehydrated, or parasite-infected.


The owners are a 68-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man, both of whom were banned from owning pets. They were ordered to pay more than €150,000 (£128,000) to animal rights’ charities and civil parties.

When police broke up a fight at the couple’s apartment last year, they found each room contained numerous animals.

Authorities also reported animal waste everywhere in the apartment.

Due to their poor health, some dogs and cats later passed away. In a washroom, investigators discovered the bodies of two dogs and at least two cats.

The apartment’s owner testified in court that although the animals were “the love of her life,” she had “screwed up.”

It appears that in 2018, she moved in with her parents’ three dogs and three cats before bringing about thirty cats from an abandoned building to her apartment. After that, the animals procreated.

The woman claimed that she would have felt like an “abandoned person for abandoning [the animals].”

This condition is called Noah’s syndrome. It is a psychological need to save animals even when one is unable to do so, according to a psychiatric evaluation.

An 18-month prison sentence was what the prosecution had asked for.

In 2014, the couple was already under investigation for residing in an 18-square-meter studio with a dog and thirteen cats.