MILFORD - A Milford judge on Tuesday sentenced a former animal rescue director to a year in prison for animal cruelty.

Prosecutors said in 2012 that Fred Acker kept animals in filthy conditions while head of the SPCA of Connecticut, which he ran in Monroe and is not affiliated with the national SPCA.

Acker admitted to taking in too many dogs there, so he moved some of them to properties in Bethlehem and Milford, where animal control officers say the animals were kept in terrible conditions.

Acker was convicted of animal cruelty in both the Bethlehem and Milford cases.

The judge last week postponed her decision, saying she needed more time to weigh the case. When the decision was read Tuesday, there were tears from Acker's supporters and applause from animal rights activists in the courtroom.

Following the year in prison, Acker will spend three years on probation and will not be allowed to own animals or work with any animal groups. The judge also ruled that any animal placed in a shelter by Acker must be relocated within 30 days.

A couple of state lawmakers who were present at sentencing said the case marked the most significant decision on animal cruelty laws in the state.

Acker's attorney said he will appeal the decision.