Police discover 167 pets at home of Northamptonshire man banned from keeping animals for life

A ferret found at the home of of Kim Starks, who had been banned from keeping animals in 2000.
Credit: Northamptonshire Police
A ferret found at the home of Kim Starks, who had previously been banned from keeping animals. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

A man who had been banned from keeping animals more than 20 years ago was found by police with more than 160 pets living in "terrible" conditions.

Officers were alerted to the "shocking" discovery at Kim Starks' home in Northamptonshire in February by a 999 call because of the smell coming from the property and the number of flies in the windows.

They found 167 rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs and birds living in squalid, unsuitable conditions in the house in Cromwell Road, Wellingborough, including some forced to share cages with dead animals.

The 61-year old was sentenced after admitting animal welfare offences in breach of a lifetime ban against keeping animals.

He was charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and with the breach of a lifetime ban dating to June 2000.

  • Body-worn video from one of the officers who responded to the 999 call to a property in showed the terrible conditions in which Starks was keeping the animals.

On 28 February, Starks admitted both charges at Northampton Magistrates’ Court, but while awaiting sentence, he was arrested again when police discovered he had been responsible for several horses, a donkey, and several rabbits and guinea pigs in a field in Hannington.

He was charged with a further breach, and admitted a second count of causing unnecessary suffering to a horse.

Starks was sentenced to a total of 34 weeks in custody, suspended for two years, when he appeared at court on Friday. A forfeiture order was made for all the animals involved, and Starks was ordered to pay £5,489.59 compensation.

His disqualification order was continued, meaning he cannot own, keep, deal in or transport any animals.

Stacks of cages containing animals were found inside Kim Starks' home. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

PC Chloe Gillies, of the rural crime team, said: “When officers first attended the house in Rushden they were faced with a house filled with animals, all in terrible living conditions – there were a total of 167 living creatures packed into cages stacked on top of each other, all over the property.

“While I’m disappointed this wasn’t an immediate custodial sentence, I’m very glad that the poor animals Starks was utterly failing to care for have been removed from him and will now have the chance to live healthy, happy lives.

“I would also like to thank the RSPCA for all their assistance in this case, all the vets involved, and all those involved in the transport and boarding facilities for all the animals.

“It was a team effort to rescue all these animals. The number of animals involved in this case was truly shocking and I am pleased that they have now been given the opportunity to find loving, caring homes.

“I hope this case shows our commitment to protecting animal welfare – if we receive information that someone who is banned from keeping animals is breaching that, or committing other offences under the Animal Welfare Act, we will investigate.”

The scene inside Kim Starks' house in Wellingborough, where more than 160 animals were being kept. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

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