Man banned from keeping animals after 17 dogs found at his home

A man from Shirebrook has been banned from keeping animals for 15 years after 17 dogs were found at his home in the town.

Officers from the Shirebrook Safer Neighbourhood Team attended Brian Birch’s home in September 2022.

At the back of the house were found 17 dogs of various breeds living in filthy conditions – with faeces and urine covering the garden.

The animals were seized and taken to kennels and when checked they were found to be riddled with fleas, their paws were bleeding due to the dirty conditions in which they were living, and they were suffering with worms.

As well as the dogs, two rabbits and two malnourished ferrets were also seized. In the ferret cage, the bodies of between five and ten dead ferrets were also found piled on top of one another.

Fourteen of the dogs were able to be rehomed, however, two had to be put down. The two rabbits and two ferrets were taken by the RSPCA.

Birch initially denied any wrongdoing but eventually pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of an animal and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The 30-year-old, of Ash Grove, Shirebrook, appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on 29 September where he was handed a 25-week prison suspended for 24 months, and was banned from keeping animals for 15 years – except for a Jack Russell which the court allowed him to keep – and ordered to pay £4,000.

The same charges against a 29-year-old woman from the town were dropped at court and no evidence was offered.

Sergeant Mark Church who leads the policing team in Shirebrook, said: “The conditions in which Brian Birch kept these animals were nothing short of horrific.

“It was clear that all the animals were suffering due to his lack of care and would have been clear to him.

“The ownership of an animal is a serious responsibility and Birch showed that he was categorically unable to handle that responsibility.

“While the court has allowed him to keep one of the dogs, I am happy to report that the majority of those dogs that were seized are now living happy lives with new owners.”