Irene Juhas leaves the Innisfail Magistrates Court on Friday after being sentenced for horrific animal negligence charges. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION
Irene Juhas leaves the Innisfail Magistrates Court on Friday after being sentenced for horrific animal negligence charges. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION

Cats held in living hell

A MAGISTRATE has ripped into a Far Northern cat breeder saying "no parent in the country should ever trust you with their child" after revelations about the horrific conditions in which she kept 64 animals.

Irene Juhas leaves the Innisfail Magistrates Court on Friday after being sentenced for horrific animal cruelty charges. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION
Irene Juhas leaves the Innisfail Magistrates Court on Friday after being sentenced for horrific animal cruelty charges. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION

Irene Juhas, 50, had cats and kittens confined to filthy cages and carriers stacked up in dark rooms at her South Johnstone home.

She was breeding and selling purebred Siamese, Balinese and Oriental cats on Gumtree for about $300 each - but prospective buyers were confronted by ill and emaciated cats and kittens with pus filled eyes, skinny their little bones protruded from their skin.

"You have committed the most disgusting acts for profit I have ever come across," Innisfail Magistrate Cathy McLennan said.

"You treated these living creatures with shocking inhumanity.

Far North RSPCA inspectors found 75 cats and kittens living in squalid conditions bred by exploitative breeder Irene Juhas. Cats were kept in cages in dark rooms.
Far North RSPCA inspectors found 75 cats and kittens living in squalid conditions bred by exploitative breeder Irene Juhas. Cats were kept in cages in dark rooms.

"I am going to recommend ... that the RSPCA never give you permission to have an animal ever again and such is your indifference to the suffering of vulnerable living beings I am further going to suggest that no parent in the country should ever trust you with their child."

A temporary prohibition order was invoked by the courts in January this year to stop Juhas from owning, buying or acquiring any cats - other than two desexed cats - until the case was finalised.

However, the RSPCA learned she had stashed 11 cats - seven adults and four kittens - with a family member in Lower Tully, which were seized last month, bringing the total to at least 75 under her care.

"You are an employee of the Tully police service and you should know better, yet after the order was made you kept 11 cats and did so in my view nefariously," Magistrate McLennan said.

Juhas, who works in administration, pleaded guilty in the Innisfail Magistrates Court to six offences under the Animal Care and Protection Act.

Self-represented, she told the court the cats were left in squalid conditions because she "panicked".

"I'd spent so much time and money and effort into increasing the gene pool and the type for showability that I didn't want to see them all taken and destroyed," she said.

"So I tried to hide them, which was wrong of me."

Juhas said her kittens became sick after she unknowingly bought cats with a virus.

"I was forced to take some nasty steps in euthanising several to reduce the instance of this virus," she said.

Magistrate McLennan described Juhas as cold, hard and not remorseful, and banned her from ever owning any animal without permission from the RSPCA.

This cat seized by the RSPCA from Irene Juhas was so ill it had to be euthanised. About one third of all the cats seized were put down because they were so ill or deformed.
This cat seized by the RSPCA from Irene Juhas was so ill it had to be euthanised. About one third of all the cats seized were put down because they were so ill or deformed.

The court heard Juhas asked no convictions be recorded, fearing for her job.

"The Queensland Police Service should be aware of the character of their employees and in my view, if you lose your employment, the sooner the better," Magistrate McLennan said.

Juhas was placed on a wholly suspended three-month jail term, given two years' probation and must complete 180 hours community service. She was also fined $7737.54 with $6338.44 of that for vet fees to the RSPCA.