Couple had 56 dogs crammed into their home with five kids
A HUSBAND and wife with five children kept 69 animals, including 56 large dogs, as family pets in their semi-detached home, a court heard.
When the RSPCA raided the house where James and Nicola Hood lived with their young family they were "swamped by a sea of dogs" in the living room.
In addition to 56 dogs, including huskies, German shepherds, rottweilers and Staffordshire bull terriers, they found three cats living in the bathroom, six birds in various dirty cages and four chinchillas.
They also found one of the couple's children, just nine months old, in a bed with sheets soiled with bird droppings, the court heard.
Hood, 40 and his 31-year-old wife, of Minehead, Somerset, admitted nine animal cruelty charges at Taunton Magistrates' Court.
Prosecutor Neil Scott said RSPCA officers visited the house on October 17 last year and were immediately hit by a "strong smell of ammonia" as they entered the "dirty" house and opened a door into the living room.
"The lead inspector described at that point her and her colleague being swamped by a sea of dogs that came running towards them," he said.
"Mr Hood could not keep control of them."
After getting reinforcements, they went back into the house and found animals living in all parts of the house, with piles of furniture with dog leads attached to them.
The couple admitted three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and six of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the needs of the animals were met.
Ian Denley, representing them, said they thought of the house as an "animal sanctuary", taking in animals from friends and from people who might otherwise have put them down.
Sentencing was adjourned to a hearing next month and the couple were released on bail.