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Animal cruelty cases at four-year high in Wales

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man has been found to have failed to provide proper care for five equines, as animal cruelty prosecutions hit a four-year high in Wales.

Throughout 2017, 148 convictions were secured by the RSPCA in magistrates’ courts across Wales, compared to 120 in 2016, 89 in 2015 and 116 in 2014.

Levels of animal cruelty have been branded ‘extremely shocking and deeply saddening’ by the RSPCA’s superintendent in Wales.

In total, the RSPCA investigated 10,176 complaints of cruelty over the calendar year. The 148 convictions relate to a total of 67 defendants – a rise on the 61 convicted in the previous year. A further 52 offenders were cautioned by the animal welfare charity in 2017.

The man from St David’s was banned from keeping horses for five years after he failed to provide proper care for five equines, in what an RSPCA inspector has described as the ‘worst case of overgrown hooves’ he has had to deal with in more than 18 years as an RSPCA inspector.

The man admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to three mini Shetland ponies known as Tango, Titch and Tex and two Welsh mountain ponies known as Tiggy and Pedro by failing to provide them with adequate hoof care.

RSPCA inspector Nic De Celis, who attended the man’s home address with RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This was the worst case of overgrown hooves I’ve taken action on.

“What we were confronted with was five ponies with such overgrown and deformed hooves that two of them were reluctant to stand, let alone walk.

“It is really sad that things had got to such an awful state and hadn’t been deal with before things got so bad. It was revealed in court that it had been ten months since the ponies were seen by a farrier.”


The man was given an 18-week imprisonment sentence, suspended for two years and was ordered to undertake 200 hours community service, pay costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £150. He was also banned from keeping horses for five years, with four weeks to re-home the two remaining horses left on his farm.

RSPCA Cymru’s superintendent Martyn Hubbard said: “It is extremely shocking and deeply saddening to see this level of horrific cruelty across Wales.

“Last year we dealt with several distressing cases that involved video evidence, that had been shared via social media.

“This evidence understandably causes great distress and public outcry. Thankfully due to valuable information being reported to us in confidence, we are able to investigate and bring any animal welfare offenders to justice.
“There is just no excuse for animal cruelty and will continue to ensure animal welfare laws are adhered to.

“Prosecution is always a last resort for the RSPCA – and court cases were the huge minority of the 28 complaints we investigated on average every single day of 2017.

“Nevertheless, the nature of cases dealt with by our frontline officers throughout 2017 once again demonstrates the importance of this work, and the necessity of securing justice for abused and neglected animals in all corners of the country.”

Many of the incidents dealt with by RSPCA Cymru throughout 2017 concerned horses, and other equines. Despite the efforts of the RSPCA and other equine welfare organisations, the crisis shows no sign of easing, with the charity struggling to find stables and funding to keep the large number of horses it has had to take in. As soon as one horse is re-homed, another is waiting to immediately fill the stable and, as a consequence, the majority of horses taken in by the RSPCA have to be cared for in private boarding stables at further cost to the charity.

Last year, there were 17 convictions in relation to equines in Wales and RSPCA inspectors dealt with 1,331 equine calls which involved 4,616 equines in total.

To report a horse – or any other animal – in need of help you can call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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Tenby: Discarded BBQ on beach burns feet

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COASTGUARDS in Tenby have asked people to safely dispose of their barbecues after a beachgoer suffered burns to their feet while on North Beach.

Coastguards were alerted to assist a casualty at 5:40pm on Wednesday (22 May).

The casualty was located in Castle Square.

The casualty was given first aid in before being taken to Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen for further treatment.

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Milford Haven: £40,000 benefits fiddle admitted in Crown Court

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A MILFORD HAVEN woman has this afternoon admitted fiddling almost £40,000 in benefits she was not entitled to.

Elizabeth Haines, aged 59, of Cromwell Heights, kept quiet about her savings and investments which put her over the allowed limit.
Haines appeared at Swansea Crown Court via video link with Haverfordwest magistrates’ court for a plea and case management hearing before Judge Geraint Walters.
She admitted failing to notify Pembrokeshire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions that she had the capital and received £39,281 in housing benefit, council tax relief and employment support allowances between April 2012 and November 2016.
Judge Walters agreed to sentence Haines on June 19 to allow a probation officer time to prepare a report on her.
Judge Walters said the starting point was a jail sentence but other options could be considered.
Haines was granted bail meanwhile.
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Behave or Be Banned scheme returns to tackle disorder

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Dyfed-Powys Police is working with licensees across the region to relaunch Behave or Be Banned (BOBB) – a scheme which sees people banned from pubs, clubs and bars for bad behaviour.

The scheme re-launches in time for the bank holiday weekend (May 25) and Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) across the force area are closely linked with businesses to reduce violence and disorder in pubs and clubs.

Chief Inspector Mark McSweeney said: “BOBB is an effective tool to help prevent, reduce and combat alcohol-related offences within communities.

“If anyone is arrested for a crime of violence, disorder or anti-social behaviour in licensed premises, or after leaving a licensed establishment in the Scheme, they will be banned from not just that licensed premises, but all licensed premises that display the Behave or Be Banned sign within the area.

“The message is simple – Behave or Be Banned!  In addition, if someone is a persistent nuisance for a licensee but their behaviour doesn’t merit arrest, licensees can also put them forward to receive a ban from all licensed premises.”

Problem customers are banned not just from the one pub but all those in the area that have signed up. It also tackles underage drinking and the use and supply of drugs.

Mr McSweeney added: “BOBB works.  It is not uncommon to see people being more concerned about whether they can get into a pub with their friends than they are about being arrested.

“Licensees will not tolerate anti-social behaviour in their premises and BOBB keeps such people out, making it safer and more enjoyable for everyone else.”

Dyfed-Powys Police’s summer campaign – #EnjoyDPP – encourages people to enjoy what the area has to offer, safely and with respect for others.

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