THREE dogs, seven puppies and four guinea pigs were found at the home of a man who is banned for life from owning animals.
Darren Peacock, 43, was slapped with the lifetime ban in 1997 after appearing before magistrates for starving a greyhound.
But he was found to have breached that order when RSPCA inspectors swooped on his home in Tenth Street, in Horden, where they found the pets.
Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard how the animals weren’t suffering, but still handed Peacock, said to have a “history of breaching court orders”, an 80-day prison sentence suspended for two years.
John Ellwood, prosecuting, said the banning order was imposed 15 years ago for “a very serious offence of starving a greyhound”.
He said: “The RSPCA arrived at his address on November 8, 2013, and discovered him looking after these animals.
“While the offence is complete by his actions he was interviewed by the RSPCA about it.
“The dogs were called Tyson, Taz and Lady. He said that Taz was bought for him as a puppy five years ago and that Lady is one of Taz’s pups and that Lady had had a further little herself.
“When asked why he had breached his ban, he said that he had wanted to apply to have his disqualification removed, but that the courts did not know how to do it.”
Bill Davison, mitigating, said Peacock had contacted the court around a year ago in a bid to have his disqualification removed.
Mr Davison said: “We have got a situation where my client was in breach of a banning order, but no animals were suffering.
“There is no suggestion at all that they were in anything other than good condition. We are not sentencing for animal cruelty, we are sentencing for the breach of an order, an order made by the courts.”
Peacock said the animals were currently at his father’s house, but the court ordered them to be taken by the RSPCA.
John Jenkins, chairman of the bench, said: “You have breached a court order by keeping animals and you have a history of breaching court orders.
“You have kept a number of animals since the order was enforced.”
Peacock was once again banned from keeping or owning animals for life and was also sentenced to 24 months supervision with a six-month alcohol treatment requirement.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £500 which will be deducted from benefits he claims.