Rich pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. During his probation period he cannot own or care for any animals.
In January 2011, Alaska State Troopers seized 168 dogs from Rich's property. Nineteen dogs were found dead, according to veterinarian Katrina Zwolinski. In court Zwolinski testified the animals were emaciated, and many had parasites, cancer and wounds.
"They are not supposed to be eating themselves from the inside out," Zwolinski said.
At least 20 other dogs were euthanized, before some of the seized animals were adopted out.
Rich had appealed the dogs’ seizure, even discussing the case with local media last month. He declined to comment following his sentencing, but during the hearing he told the judge he loved his dogs and they were like family.
Looking back, he said he now understands he had too many dogs and needed help. He testified he spent up to $36,000 a year on dog food.
"Happiness is a large pile of dog food," Rich said.
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