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Haverfordwest: Police at Magistrates’ Court ahead of planned protest

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POLICE officers are guarding Haverfordwest Magistates court this afternoon (Mar 7)

Animal rights activists as well as concerned residents from the Pembroke Dock area are expected today to voice their anger about the treatment of animals at a local farm

Demonstrations have taken place over recent weeks after the local authority and animal charities worked together to remove a large number of animals from Bramble Hall Farm – the protests were over the animals which the protesters believed were still in situ at the farm – dubbed ‘Bramble Hell Farm’ by protestors.

Between 50 and 100 people attended two protests, it is not known how many will likely be in attendance at the court.

Sean Burns, of Rose Lodge, Ferry Lane is to attend court in order to answer to a request for by Pembrokeshire County Council that possession of 80 sheep, 58 dogs, 53 pigs, 21 horses and 3 goats be given up – and the animals sold or destroyed where necessary (If necessary to prevent suffering) under the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 section 20(1).

This is not a criminal charge, but a request for a civil order.

The case is listed for 2pm.

However, in light of legitimate public concerns about the welfare of animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire County Council has released the following information which it is hoped will clarify the actions and legal processes taken so far, the current situation, and the roles of the various agencies involved.

Richard Brown, Head of Environmental Services and Public Protection, said: “Please be assured that we are continuing to monitor the welfare of animals that remain on site, and legitimate grounds for believing that the welfare of any animals is comprised will result in further action.

“An investigation into potential criminal charges is ongoing.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team are generally responsible for monitoring the welfare of farmed livestock and taking action under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 where welfare standards are found to be deficient.

The Council is also responsible for licensing certain animal establishments, including dog breeding, and for animal welfare in these licensed establishments.

These welfare roles complement those of the RSPCA who generally take a lead in ensuring the welfare of companion animals (including dogs and horses) at other sites, with liaison taking place as appropriate.

Periodic, targeted visits are made by the Animal Health and Welfare Team to licensed operations and sites that present higher risk, and other sites are visited in response to intelligence received.

A warrant to enter Bramble Hall Farm was executed in 2017, which resulted in a prosecution and conviction in January 2018 for operating an illegal dog breeding establishment, animal welfare and animal by-product offences. Confirmation was subsequently obtained that dogs previously used for breeding had been rehomed pending a possible future application for a dog breeding licence, and no grounds remained for gaining access to the site.

On the 28th and 29th January 2019, the Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team obtained and executed court warrants at Bramble Hall Farm with the support of other agencies and parties. The Council took possession of a large number of animals from the site on welfare grounds, as supported by veterinary opinion. All of the animals taken into possession were transported to pre-arranged, safe locations where they will be cared for appropriately, under the control of the Council, until a court determination has been made.

A small number of animals were not taken into possession during the operation as there was no veterinary evidence to suggest that their welfare had been compromised or that the animals would be subject to significant risk, at that time.

Steps have also been taken to ensure that any animal by-products remaining on site were removed. This has since been confirmed.

The Council is continuing to investigate a range of related offences in respect of a number of individuals. It is a large, complex investigation with multiple potential offences.

Meanwhile, the Council has applied to the Magistrates’ Court for the forfeiture (permanent confiscation) of animals seized. This procedure is independent of any potential criminal proceedings.

A court hearing is listed for the 7th March, for the court to consider this application. Depending on the outcome, a period of 28 days will be available for those with an interest, as owners, to lodge an appeal.

Council officers have been in contact with other people who have been identified as having a potential ownership interest in the animals taken into possession. Where evidence exists, these parties have been notified of the court hearing so that representations can be made.

Any persons who believe they have a right of ownership in respect of animals seized should notify the Council’s Animal Welfare team as a matter of urgency.

Despite legitimate public animal welfare concerns, Pembrokeshire County Council is unable to prevent any individual from acquiring or keeping animals. Only a court can do that.

If someone has been convicted for an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the court can make an order depriving/disqualifying them from owning, keeping, participating in keeping or controlling or influencing the way animals are kept, transporting or arranging the transportation of animals.

There is nothing stopping animals being brought to a site/kept on site until a disqualification is in place.

Council officers will take all reasonable steps to monitor the welfare of any animals that remain on site, along with other agencies as appropriate.

Legitimate grounds for believing that the welfare of any animals is comprised or that any illegal breeding activity is occurring will result in further action.

Should members of the public have any information to identify the ownership of any animals seized or about matters currently under investigation they should phone the Council’s contact centre on 01437 764551 and ask to speak to the Animal Welfare team.

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Public should ‘be alert’ as flood water causes disruption across Wales

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NATURAL RESOURCES WALES is warning people to be alert as flood water causes disruption across Wales.

Coastal areas in west Wales have taken a battering, with Newgale flooding again.

The situation is stabilising, and river levels have started to peak but there are still warnings and alerts in place, and Natural Resources Wales are continuing to monitor the situation.

There are currently 2 Severe Weather Warnings, 83 Flood Warnings and 63 flood alerts in place across Wales.

Donna Littlechild, Duty Tactical Manger said: “Storm Dennis has caused significant impacts across Wales particularly in the south and west, from strong winds and heavy, persistent rain. With further rain forecast for the next few hours, we are urging people to heed advice from ourselves and emergency services.

“Our teams have been out day and night over the last 48 hours to reduce the risk to people and their homes. We have installed temporary defences to protect communities as much as possible, as well as deploying pumps, closing flood gates and supporting emergency services.

“Our thoughts are with those people who have been affected as we know how devastating flooding can be. If you’ve been affected, please keep safe and listen to the advice of the emergency services. Advice and information available about what to do if you’ve been flooded in available on our website”

People are advised to take extra care and allow extra time for their journey as driving conditions may be hazardous. People should also avoid walking or driving through any flood waters as it can be extremely dangerous. People should also avoid fast flowing rivers and streams as they could get swept away and avoid coastal areas.

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes and are available to view at www.naturalresources.wales/flooding

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Farmer Sean Burns has been given a 20 weeks custodial sentence

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THE FARMER behind the ‘farm of horrors’, Bramble Hall Farm, in Pembroke has been sent to prison following a sentencing hearing this morning.

Sean Burns has been given a 20 weeks custodial sentence, to commence immediately, for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters.

He was given an indefinite ban from keeping animals (which by virtue of the legal definition includes having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals),

No costs were awarded against him due to prison sentence being instigated.

The date for the sentencing in Crown Court for operating an illegal slaughterhouse, related hygiene offences, supply of unsafe food and animal by-product offence is currently awaited.

The hearing took place in front of District Judge Chris James at Swansea Magistrates’ Court

FULL REPORT IN TOMORROW’S HERALD

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Rear windscreen smashed, Haverfordwest

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating after a car window was smashed in Haverfordwest.

The red Volkswagen Golf was parked in Castle Lake car park, near to the steps to Castle Square, when the damage to the rear windscreen was caused. A rock was found in the car.

The incident took place sometime between 7.30am and 6pm on Saturday, February 8.

Anyone with information is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote ref: DPP/0029/12/02/2020/01/C

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