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Cat loses leg in gin trap

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A CAT had to have a leg amputated after suffering a horrific injury suspected to have been caused by an illegal gin trap.

RSPCA Cymru has launched an appeal for information following the incident, which happened in the Llandysul area last week.

The cat, called Ilka, dragged herself home with a horrific leg injury, and managed to get back to her garden where her shocked owners found her. They took her straight to the vets, where she was given immediate treatment. Sadly, due to her serious injury her leg was amputated.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “Poor Ilka has suffered tremendously and must have ripped herself away from the trap which has resulted in the amputation of her leg. Due to her injuries and the markings on her leg, the vet has suspected that it was caused by a gin trap, which is illegal.”

The trap may have been set in fields or hedges in the Croeslan area near Llandysul where Ikla was found injured on June 18.

Inspector Hogben added: “While whoever set this trap probably didn’t expect to capture a cat, they still broke the law – it is illegal to set a gin trap whether or not it catches anything. Gin traps have to be purposefully set in order to catch an animal so this can’t have been an accident.

“We are appealing to anyone with information about this incident to please get in touch by calling our inspectorate appeal line in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.

“We would also ask local people to be vigilant to keep an eye out for these traps. Not only is it illegal to set a gin trap, it is also illegal to cause an animal to suffer as a result, and domestic animals often fall foul of these traps. Sadly we are seeing an increase in these traps in mid and west Wales.”

Ikla’s owner said they were “shocked and extremely angry” by what had happened.

“It was horrendous. She was spotted dragging herself back across the field, desperate to get home.

“Because the vet thought that Ilka may have damaged nerves in her back in the struggle to get out of the trap, it was touch and go for a few days as whether or not she would survive. Thankfully, she was eventually deemed fit enough to have the operation and her leg was amputated on Wednesday (21 June). She has since been back for a check-up and the vet is pleased with her recovery, although she is quite unsteady on her feet.

“I am angry that someone could have set a gin trap at all, but to do so this close to residential properties shows a callous disregard to the suffering of all animals. I wouldn’t want other cats, or any animal for that matter, to be injured and have to go through the pain and fear that Ilka did.”

Gin traps are mechanical traps designed to catch an animal by their leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge. If any legal spring trap has been modified by having teeth cut into the jaws or fencing staples welded onto them, they are also illegal.

The use of gin traps has been outlawed in the UK since 1958, but some are still being illegally used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes. The sale or possession of such traps is not illegal, but the RSPCA wants to make people aware that they can face prosecution by setting a gin trap.

Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal faces an unlimited fine and/or six months in prison.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence. Should you wish to help the RSPCA investigate incidents such as these, you can donate online.

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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