Derbyshire man banned from keeping animals after 17 dogs found in filthy conditions

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court
Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court Credit: BPM Media

Warning - some readers may find details in this report upsetting

A man has been banned from keeping animals for fifteen years, after seventeen dogs were found at his home in Derbyshire.

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

They 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.

They were found to be riddled with fleas, they had bleeding paws and were suffering with worms.

Police say as well as the dogs, they also seized two rabbits and two malnourished ferrets.

They found the bodies of between five and ten dead ferrets piled on top of one another in the ferret cage.

Ash Grove Credit: Google Street View

Fourteen of the dogs have been rehomed, but two had to be put down.

The two rabbits and two ferrets seized were taken by the RSPCA.

The court allowed him to keep one dog

Birch who's 30 and from Ash Grove in Shirebrook, initially denied any wrongdoing.

He eventually pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the welfare of an animal, and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

He appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court on 29th September, and was given a 25-week prison suspended for 24 months.

He was banned from keeping animals for 15 years, except for a Jack Russell which the court allowed him to keep.

He was also ordered to pay £4,000.

No evidence was offered for the same charges against a 29-year-old woman from Shirebrook, and were dropped at court.

Sergeant Mark Church, the policing team lead 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.”