Fighting to keep their more than 30 dogs, Menno and Viola Streicher made a brief court appearance Tuesday in Stratford.

The Amish couple are accused of running a puppy mill out of their farm near Millbank. They’re facing 18 animal cruelty charges laid by the Ontario SPCA after an October inspection of the Streichers’ kennel, which is run without electricity.

The Streichers have also had their kennel license revoked by the Township of Perth East following the charges.

A pretrial date was set for April 5. An Ontario SPCA veterinarian and the Streichers’ personal veterinarian are expected to take the stand at that time.

Until then, the Streichers say they, through lawyer Terrance Green, are seeking a judicial review of their license revocation.

“They do not normally stand up and fight for their rights. This time they felt that they had to,” Green told CTV.

The couple says they have no plans to stop operating their kennel, and Green is trying to convince a judge to prevent further charges of operating without a license from being laid before the trial.

“I am seeking an injunction to prevent the township from continuously harassing my clients and continuously charging them,” said Green.

Animal rights activists and supporters of the Streichers were both present outside the courtroom Tuesday.

Animal rescuer Kim Thomas say a visit to the kennel did nothing to dissuade her from thinking the animals need to be moved to another home.

“They’re sickly – ear infections, eye infections,” she said.

“The barn is freezing cold. It is only heated by pigs living underneath the barn.”

The Streichers are due back in court next week.