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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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What impact will digital media have on Welsh speaking rural communities?

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Cllr. Ann Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs, Carys Ifan - Director of Yr Egin, Wynfford James - Cymdeithas yr Iaith

At an open forum under the title Tynged yr Iaith (The Fate of the Language in Carmarthenshire): The Contribution of Digital Media on Saturday the 25th of September, Cymdeithas yr Iaith will bring together elected councilors and officers of the county council, chief officers of Yr Egin center and those developing online Welsh language content to discuss how digital media can benefit our communities.

Carmarthenshire County Council is due to publish its Digital Transformation Strategy. This will include funding specifically to develop the network. According to Cymdeithas yr Iaith, there will be new opportunities for rural communities but, to take advantage of these opportunities, specific steps need to be taken

A spokesperson for the Cymdeithas yr Iaith in Carmarthenshire said: “Digital media can strengthen rural Welsh-speaking communities in Carmarthenshire by enabling more people to find work locally and even work from home, and by broadening and enhancing the community culture and links between communities.

“The council’s digital strategy and Yr Egin in Carmarthen will provide opportunities, but we must plan to capitalise on the opportunities. In the past, it has been assumed that the development of better highways is sure to boost the economy, but they can just as easily attract commuters to work out of county and raise house prices Similarly, the development of “digital highways” could be used only by people moving into the county to work from home and further inflate house prices beyond the reach of local people – unless there are concrete steps in place for training, collaboration with the Education Department and the Careers Service, and projects for Yr Egin to work with the county’s local communities.

“There will be an opportunity for everyone to ask questions and be part of the discussion by sending us a zoom link”

As well as discussing infrastructure and connectivity there will also be a presentation on the concept of creating a digital Menter Iaith, to ensure that Welsh language material is available online.

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Psychological thriller from Carmarthenshire author draws on real experience with victims

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Killing Eve

John Nicholl’s new book Killing Evil features a child abuse survivor who takes revenge

Psychopath or agent of justice? John Nicholl’s compelling narrator in his new book Killing Evil is a victim of devastating childhood abuse who sets about hunting down and killing abusers. 

A cunning loner who uses her job in the probation service to find her victims, Alice Granger gives each her own “trial” and punishment – but as she continues with her mission, she descends further into darkness and her crimes become harder to comprehend.

Told through the killer’s eyes, the tale is dark and gripping, with a satisfying twist at the end. It asks important questions about the rehabilitation of offenders, the plight of victims and the dangers of taking justice into your own hands.

Like his previous 10 bestsellers, Nicholl’s book draws on his own experience in his previous roles in the police and child protection. 

In a long career that saw him start out as a police officer, move into social work and become a head of child protection services, Ferryside-based Nicholl experienced many harrowing cases. 

He was left with PTSD and started writing fiction after a psychologist recommended writing as a form of therapy.

John Nicholl. Image by Helen Oakes

Nicholl self-published his first book, White is the Coldest Colour, in 2015 It sold 150,000 copies on Amazon; this led to him getting signed by an agent and a publisher, and he has written prolifically ever since.

John Nicholl says:

“What I’m always trying to get across is the rage and the anger that survivors often feel – and it’s a rage that’s often shared by the professionals trying to protect them. I worked with so many people who had been through those sort of awful experiences – some even worse than what Alice goes through. There’s a lifelong effect from that. One thing which has surprised me is the number of people who messaged me after reading Killing Evil saying they went through similar experiences. I don’t think a lot of people realise how many predatory offenders there are out there. This is the first book I’ve written through the eyes of the killer. As with all my books, I hope people find it a gripping read, but also that it gets people thinking. It’s been surprising how people have said they sympathised with Alice and wanted her to get away with it until she crossed the line.”

What people are saying about Killing Evil:

“The master of the psychological thriller at his brilliant best.” Sarah Stuart – Award-winning author

“Ice cold, chilling and brilliant.” Goodreads

“This was a great, page-turning, intriguing book that I highly recommend.” Joyce Stewart Reviews

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Council launches campaign to recruit carers

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The council offers good rates of pay with full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts available.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has today (Monday September 20) launched a county-wide campaign to encourage more people into a career in social care.

The campaign, which focuses on real people in real situations, shines the spotlight on the council’s dedicated team of carers who deliver an outstanding service throughout the county and encourages others to consider a career in care.

Cllr Jane Tremlett, Cabinet Member for social care and health, said: “Our new recruitment campaign focuses on the type of person we are looking for to help us deliver a quality care service. We need positive, kind and caring individuals to join our team and help us to make a difference to service users in Carmarthenshire.

“We can offer support and training to those with no previous experience, but what we need most are people with a friendly nature and a positive attitude.”

Home and residential care vacancies are available throughout the county with full time and casual positions available.

As a carer, duties include providing personal care (bathing, dressing and other tasks), meal preparation and a range of other duties, to help promote independence where possible and to provide a good quality service to those in need. 

The council offers good rates of pay with full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts available.

For more information on care job vacancies please e-mail SCRecruitment@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01267 228703.

To apply or to read any job descriptions visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/jobs-socialcare

If you have worked within the care sector previously and would consider returning to work, please get in touch.

The council’s requirement to recruit additional care workers in both home and residential care roles mirrors shortages seen throughout the UK.

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