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Crime

Camrose woman kept 30 poodles in ‘disgusting’ conditions

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A COURT has been shown ‘disgusting and filthy’ video footage of 30 poodles that were being kept in severely substandard conditions on a farm near Haverfordwest.

The dogs were being kept by Alison Denise Silk, at her home on Rath Farm, Camrose, and were:

  • Matted in faeces;
  • Malnourished;
  • Forced to sleep on urine-soaked rugs;
  • Deprived of water and
  • Suffered severe dental problems.

“Each of these 30 poodles were being kept in appalling conditions,” District Judge Mark Layton said when passing judgement on Alison Silk at Haverfordwest Magistrates court this week.

“They were kept in absolutely filthy conditions, their teeth were in a severe dental state, their eyelids were matted and so was their fur. These dogs were suffering, and had been suffering for six months.”

The court was told that an RSPCA officer and a Pembrokeshire County Council dog warden visited Rath Farm on September 4, 2023..

“Alison Silk allowed them to enter her property and the officers immediately noticed a smell of faeces and urine,” explained solicitor Fenn Richards, who was prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA.

“A large number of dogs were found in the kitchen, and all were heavily matted. More were found in cages in the conservatory, which was hot, and there were large amounts of faeces which had been trodden into the floor and their bedding was soiled.”

The officers discovered more poodles in two runs situated in the garden.

Eight dogs were found in the first run and five in the second however Ms Richards stated that they were not being kept for commercial purposes. The cages and garden were also heavily covered in faeces and the cages were without food and water.

“The animals were being kept in an environment where there was no adequate nutrition, no drinking water, no proper veterinary treatment and no parasitic treatment,” continued Ms Richards.

“They couldn’t live in normal conditions because of the large number of dogs that was living both inside and outside the property.”

Ms Richards said that of the 30 poodles recovered from Rath Farm, 23 were deemed to have suffered as a result of inadequate nutrition and prolonged neglect and five had severe dental disease requiring tooth extractions.

Each of the dogs were subsequently removed from the property and are now being cared for by the RSPCA. Following a question by District Judge Mark Layton, Ms Richards confirmed that all dogs have survived.

Video footage and photographs were shown to District Judge Mark Layton which displayed the filthy conditions inside the property. The RSPCA officer could be heard saying, ‘This is pretty disgusting.”

Some of the water bowls displayed green or yellowing water and the flooring was thickly covered in dog faeces. Some of the matted and malnourished poodles were seen moving towards the officers, barking loudly.

As Alison Silk, 67, watched the videos, she was seen wiping her eyes.

She pleaded guilty to three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and an additional charge of not taking steps to ensure the needs of her 30 poodles were met. She was legally unrepresented in court.

“I don’t have a solicitor because I’ve done wrong,” she said in mitigation. “I’ll take any punishment because I know I’ve let my dogs down badly.

“I’ve been breeding and training dogs since I was 16 and I’ve had a dog at my side since I was 12.

“But in the months leading up to the RSPCA visit, I lost several family members, including my older brother who brought me up, and it all got too much.”
Alison Silk went on to say that at the time of the offence she was suffering from leg ulcers, a broken collar bone, broken ribs and muscle trauma to her shoulder after falling off a ladder.

“I let my dogs down and I’m really sorry,” she continued. “Living without them is my punishment and I would never, ever have put them through what I did if I had been well.

“Being without a dog is going to be really hard.”

Alison Silk was sentenced to 26 weeks in custody suspended for 12 months.

She was ordered to pay £10,300 in costs to the RSPCA and a £134 court surcharge. She was disqualified from keeping, dealing and transporting animals for ten years.

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Crime

Suspended sentence for distribution and possession of child abuse images

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IN a controversial decision at Swansea Crown Court, 20-year-old Euwyn Draper of Goat Street, Haverfordwest, has been spared prison time despite admitting to possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

The court heard that Draper pleaded guilty to charges involving 74 Category A images — the most severe — along with 102 Category B and 385 Category C images. These were amassed and shared over a period last year, with specific distributions occurring on November 4, 2022.

Prosecutor Sian Cutter detailed that the investigation began with a raid at Draper’s residence on December 21, 2022. Although Draper was not present, and initial searches of his devices at his home returned no results, subsequent actions led to his arrest at his workplace. Upon confronting law enforcement, Draper immediately acknowledged his awareness of the reasons for their presence, lamenting, “I know why you’re here. I don’t do it anymore. I’m sorry.”

Further examination of his phone revealed not only the indecent images but also concerning internet searches and conversations indicating a focus on children. Notably, Draper had sent one image of each category to a contact named “Ralph” via WhatsApp.

Despite these admissions, Draper, who has no prior convictions, denied a sexual interest in children during his interview.

Representing Draper, defence lawyer Dan Griffiths stressed the defendant’s recognition of the gravity of his offences and highlighted his client’s age and immaturity at the time of the offences. The court also considered the prolonged period since the arrest to the trial, a span of 16 months.

Judge Geraint Walters addressed the court, underscoring the public’s disdain for such crimes and the harsh reality behind the images. “These are real children, they are not actors,” Judge Walters emphasized, condemning the market that drives such exploitative material.

Ultimately, Draper received a suspended sentence of 12 months for distribution and six months, concurrent, for making the images. Over the next two years, he must complete the Horizon programme and 30 days of rehabilitation activities. Additionally, Draper will be registered as a sex offender and is subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

Judge Walters concluded with a stern admonition for Draper to commit to rehabilitation and to move past this “dark phase” in his life, marking a pivotal moment for the young defendant and the community’s ongoing battle against such digital crimes.

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Crime

Police appeal after girl, 15, assaulted at Lydstep Point to Point

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DYFED-POWYS-POLICE says it is investigating an assault which occurred at Lydstep Point to Point event near to the announcers stand, between 4.30-4.45pm on Monday, April 1, 2024.

The victim, a 15-year-old girl, was allegedly assaulted by two other females, one believed to be in her late teens and the other in her late thirties. The young victim sustained facial injuries.

Police are now appealing for anyone who attended the event that may have information that could help them with their investigation to contact PC 772 Boyt either through a direct message on social media, online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 101.

Quote reference: 24*310890

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Crime

West Wales gardener guilty of deliberate crash into taxi

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FOLLOWING an incident which took place on North Road, Cardigan, a local gardener, Charlotte Finley, has been found guilty of reversing her car deliberately into a parked taxi, causing significant damage and narrowly avoiding injuring the taxi driver.

The event occurred at 10.30 pm on June 4 last year, leaving the local community in disbelief.

Captured by CCTV outside a nearby shop, the footage reveals Finley, 37, from St Dogmaels, reversing not once, but three times into the taxi.

The final manoeuvre, executed with alarming speed and apparent intent, came perilously close to hitting the taxi driver, who had just exited his vehicle. The damage inflicted on the taxi is estimated at £500.

The confrontation escalated when the taxi owner approached Finley, only to be met with the assertion, “you are not in the taxi rank,” before she executed her final, forceful reverse. Witnesses and CCTV footage corroborated the sequence of events that unfolded on the quiet street.

Presented before Swansea Crown Court this Wednesday, Finley pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and criminal damage. Her barrister, Jonathan Tarrant, highlighted Finley’s isolated social circumstances and pressures as mitigating factors, insisting that alcohol was not a contributing factor.

Despite having ten previous convictions, including criminal damage and two instances of drink-driving, Finley received a sentence that reflected her immediate admission of guilt.

His Honour Judge Geraint Walters sentenced her to eight months in prison for the dangerous driving charge and two months for criminal damage, both suspended for two years. In addition to being disqualified from driving for a year, Finley must also retake her driving test, pay a £114 victim surcharge, complete 150 hours of unpaid work, and undergo 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

Judge Walters, addressing Finley, emphasized the gravity of her actions and the potential consequences of violating the court’s orders, stating, “If you breach the order you will end up serving the sentence.”

This case serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of reckless behaviour on our roads and the judiciary’s commitment to upholding public safety.

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