North Yorkshire Police have confirmed finding a man with more than 400 animals in the Thirsk area, all kept under what they deem “suspicious circumstances.” The animals are being cared for in secure locations and police are now in the process of trying to reunite the animals with their owners.

According to a report by the North Yorkshire Police, the animals included a variety of sheep, rabbits, dogs, goats, turkeys, chickens and ducks, all of which were found following an investigation into lost animals.

Man found with 400 suspected stolen animals

On Friday 12 October at around 4 PM, the police’s rural taskforce located a man in the Thirsk area, holding the 400 animals under suspicious circumstances. As reported by ITV News, They found 30 live turkeys in a pickup truck on the land, as well as a number of other animals on the property. To break down numbers, there were 90 goats and sheep and 80 ducks of varying breeds. Around 180 turkeys and chickens were found along with nine rabbits and 10 pigeons.

Police asked a veterinarian to check on the animals’ welfare which unfortunately led to two turkeys and a goat had to be euthanised.

All other animals are now in secure locations where they will receive care as police continue their investigation into finding the animals’ owners. Meanwhile, two border collies which had been reported as stolen from a Lancashire address were among the found animals and are to be reunited with their owners.

Man in Ripon area arrested

Police arrested a 42-year-old Ripon man on suspicion of animal theft and money laundering. He is also suspected of breaching a previous order which disqualified him from keeping animals. North Yorkshire Police released the man as the investigation continues.

Inquiries are already ongoing, as many goats and sheep did carry tag numbers or identification marks and they have already found the owner of 40 chickens.

Police call on the public to help with their inquiries

Sergeant Kevin Kelly said in a statement on the rural taskforce’s website that they need the help of the public to identify all the animals. They suspect that a number of them were stolen outside the North Yorkshire area.

Kelly said due to the “sheer volume” of the animals to be returned to their owners, the investigation is very complex. However, they are working with the RSPCA to ensure all animals are secure and are being well-cared for. Speaking of the two border collie dogs, Kelly said the owners are “over the moon” to be with their beloved pets again.