19/04/2012 10:07 BST | Updated 19/04/2012 11:39 BST

Family Who Kept 56 Dogs Banned From Keeping Pets After RSPCA Raid (PICTURES)

A husband and wife with five children who kept 56 large dogs as family pets in their four-bedroom semi-detached home were today banned from keeping animals for eight years.

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 and "too many to count" in the back garden.

In addition to 56 dogs, including huskies, German shepherds, rottweilers and Staffordshire bull terriers, they also found three cats living in the bathroom, six birds, including love birds in various dirty cages, and four chinchillas.

They also found one of the couple's children, just nine-months-old, in a bed whose sheets were soiled with bird droppings, the court heard.

At an earlier hearing Hood, 40, and his 32-year-old wife admitted nine animal cruelty charges relating to animals kept at their home in Queen's Road, Minehead, Somerset.

The pair returned to Taunton Magistrates' Court today to be sentenced.

Keith Parks, chairman of the bench, told the couple: "We find these offences fall within the second bracket of the guidelines with a starting point of a high level community order.

"Taking into account your early guilty pleas, your lack of previous convictions and your inability to comply with a community order, we are imposing a conditional discharge for 24 months.

"In recognising the seriousness of the offences and the number of animals involved we are disqualifying you from owning or keeping any animal for the next eight years."

Magistrates also ordered the pair to pay £250 each towards the RSPCA's costs at £5 each a week.

See below for pictures of the family's home