Dog breeders jailed for nine weeks for neglecting animals in Long Eaton were freed after five days.
Peter and Shirley Chapman appeared at Derby Crown Court where they won an appeal against the sentence imposed by magistrates in the city.
Recorder Richard Atkins, sitting with two JPs, was shown photographs inside the house where the couple lived with 20 Cocker spaniels and a cat.
He described it as a scene of ‘complete squalor’ and said: “It strikes us these people are in need of as much help as the animals were.”
But he said ‘the taste of custody’ showed them and others the seriousness of the offences.
The nine-week prison term will remain but was suspended and will not be served if they keep out of trouble for 18 months. They were put on probation.
The court kept in place a lifetime ban on the pair keeping animals. They can appeal against this in five years.
The court was told the RSPCA organised a visit to the couple’s home on Tamworth Road in January. It also involved police and Erewash Borough Council.
John Sutcliffe, for the RSPCA, said a range of ailments were found in the dogs including mastitis, ear mites and worms. Two puppies had diarrhoea.
Andrew Coley, for the pair, said Mr Chapman had been held in Nottingham Prison with his wife at Foston Hall.
He had suffered strokes following surgery for a brain tumour, before the animal offences were committed. She had struggled to care for him.
Mr Chapman was brought to court in a motorised wheelchair. At the magistrates’ court, his wife was said to have ‘mental health issues.’
They admitted five counts of causing unnecessary suffering and two of failing to meet the welfare needs of animals.