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Council prosecutes Llandysul man over ‘horrific’ case of horse neglect

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Their hooves were so badly deformed that the vet said it was the worst he’d seen in over 40 years of practice

A LLANDYSUL man with a life-time ban from keeping horses has been convicted of horse neglect so bad that a long-standing vet described it as the most horrific case he had ever seen.

David Robert Davies, of Maes Dilen, Pentrecwrt, admitted leaving two ponies to suffer so badly that they had to be euthanised to end their pain.

The case was brought before Llanelli Magistrates by Carmarthenshire County Council whose animal welfare officer found the ponies being kept in the dark in waist-high soiled bedding with their hooves so badly deformed that the vet said it was the worst he’d seen in over 40 years of practice.

During their investigation, the council found that Davies had previous convictions for similar animal welfare offences which meant he had been banned from keeping horses for life.

Despite not owning the ponies he admitted he was aware of their condition and should not have let them suffer.

He was sentenced to 12-weeks custody, suspended for 24 months, and was handed a 12-month community order with 250 hours unpaid work and rehabilitation. He was also ordered to pay costs of £6,367 and a victim surcharge of £122.

The case came to light in February, 2020, when a council animal welfare officer carried out an unannounced inspection of sheep kept by Davies at fields he rents in Drefach Felindre.

They were kept in the dark, unable to look out of the shed

Whilst waiting for him to arrive she noticed a shed covered with wood pallets and tarpaulin – and on peering through a hole could see two ponies standing in their own faeces.

Accompanied by a vet from the Animal Plant and Health Agency, she entered the shed to find the cob-type ponies in soiled bedding with their coats matted in dried faeces, their hooves badly overgrown and tails so short it appeared they may have eaten their own out of boredom.

The ponies had nothing to eat – one had no water and the other had faeces in his water bucket.

They were kept in the dark, unable to look out of the shed and were only able to touch each other over a wooden barrier that separated them.

When the defendant arrived and was challenged about the condition of the ponies he said they were not his – at first saying they belonged to the owner of the field and then, when this was denied, saying they belonged to his step-daughter with whom he has no contact.

He did agree however to arrange urgent attention for the ponies, muck out the shed and give them food and clean water.

Over the following days the animal health officer made numerous attempts to contact Davies’s step-daughter but to no avail, and re-visited the ponies when the owner of the field agreed to state they had been abandoned on his land.

It was only when they were brought out into the daylight that their true condition became evident – a vet called to attend to them said the deformity of all four hooves of the black pony were the worst case of neglect he had ever seen in 40 years of practice.

The second black and white pony also had badly neglected feet and walked with muscular tremors suggesting he’d had little or no exercise for a considerable time.

Both were taken away for treatment but just days later had to be euthanised, the vet saying he believed they had been suffering for at least 12 months.

The investigation that followed revealed that Davies was disqualified from owning, keeping or participating in the keeping of horses for life following a prosecution by the RSPCA in 2015.

The ponies had nothing to eat – one had no water and the other had faeces in his water bucket.

During interview he maintained that the ponies were owned by his estranged step-daughter, although he accepted that he never saw her at the property or with the ponies.

He said they had been in the shed since around October 2019, but didn’t know who had put them there. Although he would occasionally throw hay and food in for them, he said he had never seen anyone actually feeding them or tending to them.

The landowner, also interviewed, said he was unaware that the ponies were in the shed on his property.

Davies’s step-daughter was eventually tracked down but denied any knowledge of the ponies in the shed.

Appearing at Llanelli Magistrates Court on August 13, Davies pleaded guilty to two offences of causing unnecessary suffering to two horses and breaching a disqualification order in respect of horses.

He admitted that whilst he didn’t own them, he had knowledge of their suffering and failed to get them veterinary help, blaming his declining health, acting as his partner’s sole-carer and home-educating their two children.

Following the conviction, Cllr Philip Hughes, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “If it were not for the actions of our animal health officer, who acted on a hunch to check the shed, these ponies may still be suffering today. This is an awful, and entirely avoidable, case of shocking neglect.”

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South West Wales enters a state of Drought as dry weather continues

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FOLLOWING the extended period of dry weather, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has confirmed that the trigger thresholds have been met to move South West Wales into drought status from Friday, August 19.

NRW’s decision to move from prolonged dry weather status to drought for the area was agreed and shared with a meeting of the Welsh Government’s Drought Liaison Group and after consideration of the exacerbated pressures the high temperatures and lack of significant rainfall have had on the environment in this area.

The rest of Wales remains in prolonged dry weather status but concerns still remain. While essential supplies of water remain safe, the public and businesses in drought affected areas should be very mindful of the pressures on water resources and should use water wisely.  NRW continues to closely monitor the situation across Wales, working with partners and will take action as required.  

Natalie Hall, Sustainable Water Manager for NRW, said: “Prolonged dry weather can lead to drought when rainfall remains low. This can impact some of our most precious habitats and species as well as systems we often take for granted, such as our water supplies.

“We have decided to declare a state of drought in South West Wales after it was clear the lack of rain and recent heat have put a huge strain on our rivers, reservoirs and groundwater levels.“

The areas affected are:

  • North Ceredigion (Rheidol, Aeron, Ystwyth)
  • Teifi
  • Pembrokeshire (Eastern and Western Cleddau)
  • Carmarthen (Tywi and Taf)
  • Swansea and Llanelli (Tawe and Loughor)
  • Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend (Neath, Afan, Ogmore)

South West Wales received just 65.5% of its average rainfall in July and all river levels in the area are lower than expected for this time of the year, with the Ewenny, Teifi and Taf exceptionally low.

Low groundwater levels coupled with record high temperatures, have also put a strain on the region’s ecosystems as well as public water supplies in Pembrokeshire and parts of Carmarthenshire.

The rest of the country continues to experience a period of prolonged dry weather, despite there being some recent rainfall.

Across the rest of Wales, the majority of rivers across Wales are lower than expected for the time of year, with many exceptionally low including the Alyn, Conwy, Clwyd, Taf, Teifi, Ewenny, Wye, Usk and Ebbw. 

Between March and July Wales received just 61% of its expected rainfall resulting in the driest five-month period in 40 years

NRW is advising the residents of Pembrokeshire to follow water conservation advice given by Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water, who have introduced a temporary use ban,  more commonly known as a hosepipe ban, which will also come into effect today (Friday 19 August).

NRW and Welsh Government (WG) also attend the national drought group for England to address any cross-border concerns.

Natalie added: “While certain parts of Wales may be experiencing rain, it can still take a long time to recover from drought, making water a precious resource.

“We’re urging the public to save water where possible; you can find the latest ad advice on water by visiting your water company’s website or Waterwise (www.waterwise.org.uk).

“Please report any incidents on the current dry weather on our 24-hour hotline on 0300 065 3000.”

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Llandeilo Youth Club Thrown a Lifeline 

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“A SUBSTANTIAL private donation has dramatically changed our position,” says Llandeilo Children and Youth Society chair Christoph Fischer. “The promise of £10,000 over a period of one year has changed the way we can run the club dramatically.”

The society has had a struggle over the last two years. Set up in response to minor vandalism in Llandeilo during the pandemic, the committee secured a large number of volunteers, support from the Wales Sports Association, CWWYS and secured a grant from the Fund for Wales – BIG scheme. 

Yet, further lockdowns delayed the projects, volunteers returned to work or moved away and buildings that were earmarked as locations for the club were demolished or sold.

“We found the most benevolent support from the Civic Hall where we will share space with the Box of Fists club,” explains Fischer.

“We can now look for a youth worker to run our sessions on Monday and Thursday afternoons,” says the society’s secretary Richard Lashley. “We’re looking for applicants as well as for a suitable partner organisation to take on the administrative sign of this.”

“This money couldn’t have come at a more perfect time,” says treasurer John Meredith Williams. “We almost completed the required training and bureaucratic procedures.”

“It is time there’s something new going on in town for kids,” says Fischer, “and we can’t wait to finally get started.”

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Education

Carmarthenshire students celebrate A Level and A.S. results

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council wishes to congratulate all of the county’s students that are receiving their A-Level and A.S. results today, Thursday 18th August 2022.

Whilst this year has seen a return to exam-based results, following two years of assessment-based grading during the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers have still had to contend with the ongoing impact of the last 2 years.

A total of 98.6% of A Level students in Carmarthenshire achieved A*-E, which is higher than the 97.3% in 2019 when exams were last sat.

Across Carmarthenshire, a total of 40.1% of A level students have received A or A* this year, which is vastly higher than the 24.9% when exams were last sat in 2019.

After 2 years without examinations, students at AS Level also had the opportunity this year to show what knowledge they had learned and skills they had developed, through a combination of exams and assessments, applicable to different courses. 91.8 % of AS students in Carmarthenshire achieved A-E grades which, again, is higher than in 2019.

Cllr. Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language said: “Congratulations to every single student receiving their A-Level and A.S. results today. These young people and their teachers have worked extremely hard, within the uncertain climate that exists due to the pandemic, and they should be very proud, as am I, of their fantastic achievements.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, teachers and support staff of Carmarthenshire as well as their families for their hard work over the last two years.”

In a joint statement, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters and Director of Education and Children’s Services, Gareth Morgans added: “Congratulations to our A-Level and A.S. students for their, well deserved, excellent results. The last two years have been very challenging for students, teachers, support staff, families and friends and we are grateful to everyone for their commitment and support to each other during this period.

“These young people are a credit to their schools and our county, and we wish them every success for the future.”

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