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Farmer banned from keeping animals

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Aled Morgan, aged 28, previously of Brynhyfryd, Penffordd, Clynderwen, but now residing at Llan Isaf, Llangynog, Carmarthen, was disqualified from keeping or owning livestock for seven years at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (Feb 17).

This was suspended for a month to allow for him to sell any remaining animals that are still in his possession.

On February 10, Morgan pleaded guilty to 21 offences relating to the care of his animals in court on January 19 and the case was adjourned to allow for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

Nine of the offences relate to Morgan failing to comply with animal by-products and another nine relate to him failing to ensure the welfare of his animals.

The others related to him failing to notify the National Assembly of deaths of animals, one of failing to provide an animal for TB testing and one of failing to record the arrival of animals to the farm.

The chairman of the bench said that she and her colleagues were so appalled by the photographs provided and that they had never seen such appalling conditions.

The case followed complaints about animal welfare of cattle and pigs at his Penffordd livestock farm.

Prosecuting, Rhian Young told Magistrates: “Ten visits were made to the farm following a number of anonymous complaints. There were reports of carcasses and improvement notices have also been issued. On April 8, Pembrokeshire County Council Animal Health and Welfare inspectors and vets from the Animal Plant and Health Agency visited the farm. In one shed they found an open bail of silage and bovines were deep in slurry. They were all in a thin condition. There was also a carcass of a new-born calf. In the second shed there was a cow that had died trying to calve. There was also a build-up of faeces and the bovines had access to contaminated water. In the next shed there were carcasses of two calves. In the fourth shed there was another build-up of faeces. They contacted Morgan and told him that this was unsatisfactory. Another complaint was made and three carcasses were found. The inspector noted that the conditions were worse than the previous visit. They tried to contact Morgan but they couldn’t get hold of him and officers did what they could to improve the conditions. They went back and found that a number of the animals had been moved from where the officers had put them. They also noticed that animal by-products had not been properly disposed of. In June, 2014, four young cattle and two pigs were taken into possession by the Council after an Animal Welfare Act section 18 was signed by a vet to prevent further unnecessary suffering. A check was done and it was found that he had not notified the authorities of the deaths of the animals or for the movement of pigs.”

She continued: “There was another anonymous complaint of dead animals and seven carcasses were found in the same place as before. Letters were sent to the defendant reminding him to remove the carcasses. One of the bovines was lying down and when the officer encouraged it to stand it could not do so as its legs were weak. The pig was dehydrated and had no food or water. A decision was made to euthanize the pig to prevent any further suffering. He has had a huge amount of guidance over the past 12 months but he has failed to meet their needs. In total, 14 cattle have died between December 2013 and August 2014.”

Probation officer Julie Norman told the court: “Problems arose following the death of his father. The farm has been in his family for generations. After his father died there were numerous debts that needed to be paid. He was struggling to pay and took up another job on another farm to pay costs. He left his sister in charge of his farm. The needs of the animals were quite basic and whilst his sister told him everything was ok he accepts that it wasn’t. He was so busy on the other farm and he no longer works at this farm. He has moved away and is working on a large dairy farm in Carmarthenshire.”

Defending, Matt Greenish said: “He did what he could to get rid of the debt following the death of his father and he has failed to take adequate steps to look after the animals on his farm. He was working at another farm but he should have taken more responsibility for his own farm. He has little contact with his family now and he is sorry for these offences. Although it has gone on for some time, this can be deemed as an isolated incident. If you do disqualify him that will place difficulties on him but he accepts that he will have to be punished.”

Mr Greenish also asked the Magistrates to consider not banning Morgan but they did not agree with that suggestion.

On sentencing, the chairman of the bench said: “We are so appalled at the photographs and you are very lucky not to be going to prison. We have never seen such appalling conditions.”

As well as the disqualification, Morgan was given a community order with the requirement of 300 hours of unpaid work.

Morgan was also fined £2446.76 to cover legal and investigation costs and he was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.

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Dad speaks on Father’s Day about amazing experience of adopting

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AN adoptive dad of two has spoken of the privilege he feels watching his children bloom and grow.

Alex* has described becoming a father as a ‘totally new and amazing kind of joy’, and on Father’s Day is encouraging more men to consider adoption.

Through Adoption Mid and West Wales, Alex is telling his story in the hope that it will inspire.

The service supports families and individuals along every step of the adoption journey, matching children with people who can provide them with a loving, safe and stable family life.

For Alex and his wife, their decision to adopt came after unsuccessful fertility treatment which led them to reflect on their family plans.

Reaching out to their local authority adoption team, the couple were matched with a little boy just over a year from making their first enquiry.

“We had always talked about adoption as a possible route to starting a family,” he said. “We did try a round of IVF when it was clear we couldn’t conceive naturally, but after that was unsuccessful we took some time out to reflect.

“We started the process in January. We had a pretty normal year whilst going through the process – went to work as usual, went to festivals, on holiday, spent time with family and friends – and fitted meetings with social workers and courses in between.

“We did try to read up as much we could and attended extra courses and training outside of the ones organised by the local authority. We had the approval panel in December and after being successful there we didn’t have too long to wait before a match was found.

“We didn’t specify what gender we wanted our child to be, but the local authority did a very good job of finding a child that matched our lifestyle and profiles.

“We all have ways of finding our own joy, but becoming a father was a totally new and amazing kind of joy that I hadn’t experienced before.”

Such was their positive experience, that two years later Alex and his wife decided to adopt again.

“It was a more straightforward process second time around, as we knew what to expect,” he said. “We had a different social worker who hadn’t worked with second time adopters before, so she was a bit surprised at our level of confidence!”

Alex now confesses to be ‘the world’s biggest adoption bore’ and says adoption has been a positive experience with an amazing ending.

“Having spent many years without children in my life and finding joy in many other ways, I try hard not to make out that people without children are somehow inferior, but it is an utter privilege to be able to provide two children with a safe and secure environment to watch them blossom and grow as amazing human beings.

“To anyone considering adoption I would advise to go into it with your eyes open as there will be issues that will crop up that you may not have thought of, but stick with it – at the end of the day these are children we are talking about not bug-eyed monsters!

“There are lots of support groups for adoptive mums, but very little for dads, so if the opportunity comes up to go for a beer with an adoptive dad then take it – you will find out that adoption is way more normal and commonplace than you think! Oh, and if you have access to the Apple TV channel then watch ‘Trying’. A very funny and fairly accurate summing up of the whole process!”

This Father’s Day – weather permitting – Alex and his family are going camping.

“The relationship I had with my own father was a lot more traditional, so I am trying to be a lot more open and loving with my children. When I spend time with my friends who are also dads, I don’t feel any different to them – I love my children unconditionally and I’m extremely proud of them.”

Adoption Mid and West Wales is a dedicated service that supports adoptive families to come together.

The team recruits, trains and assesses prospective adopters to provide high-quality adoptive placements for local children and young people, enabling them to live with permanent new families.

There is no set criteria to becoming an adoptive parent – it doesn’t matter whether prospective adopters already have children, whether they’re single or a couple (straight or LGBT+), whether they’re married, unmarried or in a civil partnership.

Children are matched and placed with adoptive parents who are assessed as being able to provide a stable and nurturing environment and have the skills to meet the needs of the children.

Ongoing support is provided to adopters and their families throughout the adopted child’s life.

Locally, there is a need for adopters from a variety of backgrounds so children can be placed with families and individuals who share their own culture, language and religion.

Anyone interested in finding out more can visit adoptionmwwales.org.uk for advice and information. 

An online information session is being held on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, at 6.30pm – register before Friday, July 16, 2021. 

Enquiries can also be made with a member of the adoption team – email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 0300 30 32 505.

* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the children

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Community

Youth Support Service recognised

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL YOUTH SUPPORT SERVICE has been awarded the National Participation Charter for Children and Young People.

The service which supports young people aged 8-25 across Carmarthenshire reach their full personal, social and educational potential was given the accreditation for its commitment to the participation standards.

The National Children and Young People’s Participation Standards are a tool to help measure the process of children and young people’s participation in the work undertaken by a service supporting young people. And that they are working in line with the National Participation Standards which are underpinned by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The service also provides support and opportunities to access employment, education or training for ages 16-25.

The council’s director of education and children services, Gareth Morgans, said: “This is an essential and exciting part of our journey as a service in realising our vision of being a service that provides a robust range of support from open access to specialised support, enabling children, young people and young adults from 8-25 years of age to access what they need, when and where they need it so that they can reach their full personal, social and educational potential.

“The voice of children and young people is important to us as a service and being awarded the Charter demonstrates our strong commitment to children and young people’s participation within our work in Carmarthenshire.

“The Charter will allow us to use the National Participation Standards as a tool to measure the process of the participation of children and young people in decision making processes within our local authority. It will also help us to identify current areas of good practice, as well as areas for development.”

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Community

Carmarthenshire County Council Chair’s charity swim

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THE CHAIR of Carmarthenshire County Council has fulfilled his promise to do a seaside swim to raise money for his two charities.

Cllr Ieuan Davies had vowed to take part in the traditional Walrus Dip at Cefn Sidan beach on Boxing Day, but the event was cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

Instead, Cllr Davies took to the waves at Pendine beach during a chilly Easter weekend.

Cllr Davies is fundraising for two charities close to his heart, Prostate Cancer and St Peter’s Church in Llanybydder. 

As well as the swim, he is also undertaking a sponsored walk and has so far walked over 60 miles.

“It has been a difficult year for so many people and I have deeply regretted being unable to undertake the usual duties of Chair, meeting as many Carmarthenshire residents and groups as possible over the year.  I am so pleased to have been able to do a seaside swim which is an important date in the civic calendar,” said Cllr Davies.

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