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Murphy the dog saved in court

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Murphy, the Bassett Hound.

Murphy, the Bassett Hound.

THE FEAR that the life of a pet Bassett Hound from Llansteffan would be ended has now come to a close after owner Catrin Jenkins appeared in Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (Feb 11) to defend her pet.

Murphy the 13 year-old Bassett hound is well known in the area of Llansteffan, and a petition was set up online, as well as posts all across Facebook appearing, in support of the dog in the weeks leading up to the court date.

One post read: “For God’s sake, he is about as ferocious as a kipper, some people have nothing better to do. I am sure you can rely on the support of this village, sending love to all of you, including Murphy.”

Catrin Jenkins, who appeared in court with her husband, entered an early guilty plea to the charge of being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control.

On 7th September 2015 the complainants, Lauren Brown and her boyfriend Mr Godfrey, went to Llansteffan beach where they parked their car there at midday. One exited the car with their three Staffordshire bull terriers and Catrin Jenkins’ Bassett hounds approached the car, who had seen the three dogs and became excited, before Brown and her boyfriend told them to go away.

Prosecuting in court, Mr Martin, told the court: “One of the dogs went back to Catrin who was far in the distance, and when Lauren tried to usher the dog away with her leg, the Bassett hound ran towards them. Lauren placed her dog in-between her legs and raised her arm in defence before the hound clamped onto her arm.”

Police were then contacted, and after seeing the bruise on Lauren’s arm headed towards the property of Catrin Jenkins, where they saw the Bassett hound in the garden.

Defending the pet owners, solicitor David Folland explained: “On the beach there was an independent witness to the incident, Steven James, who had been walking his dog and there was no suggestion that the Bassett hound had gone for his dog.

The main issue is that the complainants’ Staffordshire bull terriers became excited and aggressive when the hounds moved towards the couple initially. There was no aggression towards the humans present in any way, and an incident like this has not happened involving the dog before.”

With a smirk on his face, the prosecutor in court stood up then made one final insensitive attempt to swerve the court.  He rose to announce that the defence solicitor mentioning Murphy, the name of the 13 year-old pet dog whose life was literally hanging in the balance of being put down or kept alive, was irrelevant and had no purpose to be mentioned.

Catrin and her husband have said that there has been a significant lifestyle change with their dogs. They spend more time at home, now remaining extremely careful with their dogs, explaining that the whole ordeal has been ‘extremely upsetting’ for them.

The Magistrates in court retired to make their decision, before re-appearing in court to announce that due to the past history of Murphy, they were not going to make a destruction order on the condition that if another incident is to happen within 12 months, the owners would re-appear in court.

Catrin and her husband shed tears of relief and joy in court as the Magistrates warned them that they now must keep Murphy either muzzled or on a lead whilst taking him out.

They told the Herald: “We’re over joyed that Catrin was discharged and Murphy not destroyed. We have to thank the huge support from our village, Murphy’s friends, legal team and Facebook followers. Cheers. Murphy got a pigs ear when we got home as a present.”

The two were also ordered to pay £100 compensation to the complainants, £85 prosecution costs, and a £15 surcharge.

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Environment hero helps to keep Carmarthenshire clean

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A young volunteer has been praised by Carmarthenshire County Council for his environmental work in the Whitland area. 

10-year-old Leon litter picks his local area every day, helping to keep the area clean and tidy. As a reward for his fantastic work Leon was invited on a behind the scenes tour of Nantycaws recycling centre and Canolfan Eto.

During the visit, Leon saw the different processes that Carmarthenshire’s household recycling goes through as well as seeing the transformation of items at Canolfan Eto re-use project.

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services said: “Leon has done a wonderful job in helping to keep Whitland clean and tidy and I’m delighted that we were able to recognise his efforts with a visit to Nantycaws.

“Carmarthenshire is very lucky to have an excellent group of volunteers who are a real asset to the community, giving up their precious time to help keep Carmarthenshire clean. Thank you to everyone who dedicates their time to helping us.” 

Businesses can also support their local environment by becoming a custodian of a ‘2 minute clean’ board. These A-frame boards are equipped with everything needed to clean the area including litter pickers and bags.

For information on becoming a 2 minute clean board custodian or to organise a litter pick please e-mail prideinyourpatch@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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‘People are booking the test when they’re not ready, and the pass rate is actually declining’

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THE CEO of one of the UK’s biggest driving schools has revealed that learner drivers are still facing massive driving test delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to GB News presenters Esther Vey and Philip Davies, Seb Goldin said: “It depends where you are in the country, but the backlog is really not being got through at any rate from Covid. We’re hearing six, seven, eight and nine months now.

“It’s made worse because people are just trying to book a test when they’re perhaps not even test ready. And then the pass rate is actually declining at the moment, so then tests are just not available for those who would be ready, which is exacerbating the problem.

“We’d say take your lessons, book the test but only when your instructor tells you that you’re test ready.”

Discussing the possible introduction of self driving cars on UK roads and into driving lessons, Goldin explained: “I think with all technology, where there’s such a step-change from human behaviour to machine behaviour, if we could flick a switch overnight and say everyone’s driving autonomous cars then it would be a very easy segway and move on through. But when you’re gonna have human behaviour on the road with semi or fully autonomous cars, that’s where the challenge is gonna be. We expect to be very busy for the next few years at least.”

He added: “Your car even now compared to what you had ten years ago has so much more technology. One of the challenges that we think is that people are not given instruction or coaching in what a car can do and what it can’t do.

“So for example, if you got a new car with cruise control with a radar at the front which manages the distance which is fine if you get used to it. But if you get a bit of road grime on the front of the car it packs up and then suddenly you have to drive normally again, and if you’re not ready for it or not used to it it can be a challenge. So we’re really excited about integrating technology into driving lessons and we’re working with the government and DVSA to help improve and change the curriculum as technology comes through.”

Whilst self driving cars are not fully on the roads, Goldin explained a driver would still be needed behind the wheel: “There are various steps of autonomy. So at the moment, we have cars on what we call Level 1 and Level 2. What the government is taking about is Level 3, where the car can actually be fully in control of the vehicle without the driver needing to have hands on the wheel or control.

“An analogy is if you think of pilots in big ships or aeroplanes, they still have to be trained in how to manually control them if the technology fails. It’s exactly the same with driving.

“All technology that we work with, trust has to grow and we need to understand what it does, and there’s very much back to the point of teaching people and coaching people to drive. Even when people have passed the driving test, you’re not necessarily a ‘safe driver’ you’ve just passed the driving test. So there’s very much a coaching and a learning role as technology comes on.

“When you get a new car from a car dealer, a lot of them are very good at selling you on the finance but perhaps not so much on what the car can do and more importantly, what it can’t do.”

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Communities for Work Plus is on hand to assist with disability support

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CONGRATULATIONS to Tina Evans who has recently joined the BBC Wales presenting team and is currently covering the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In preparation for starting her new job, Tina sought the services of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Communities for Work Plus programme to help overcome multiple barriers such as access to work and communicating with social services.

Tina, who is from Pontyberem originally, faces numerous challenges, due to long-term health conditions and disabilities, and requires a lot of support in relation to mobility and everyday care, as she is a wheelchair user.

Writing ahead of starting her new role with the BBC, Tina said “I had been offered work with BBC Wales, as part of the presenting team, and needed to sort out support during my role. As I was tight against time, I accessed the Communities for Work Plus hub in Carmarthen with the hope to speed things up. This was the best decision I made. After speaking with their team, I felt a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders as I, now, wasn’t sorting things alone.

“I would especially like to thank Desiree from the Communities for Work Plus team. She supported me through telephone calls with access to work and social services and liaised with them to make sure we met the deadlines required. There were a few barriers to overcome along the way, but with Desiree’s support and determination, we hurdled over them. I must admit, her support was invaluable in gaining access to work and without it, I would have given up.

“I can now look forward with excitement for this opportunity, knowing that I have the support I need.”

Desiree De Mouilpied, Community Employment Officer/Disability Specialist said “It’s been a privilege to assist Tina with her journey to accessing work. Her character and determination, to pursue her dreams and overcome complex barriers into employment, have been inspiring. We all wish her the best of luck in her new job.”

Communities for Work Plus provides the infrastructure to support the ongoing delivery of Communities for Work. The programme enhances the employment-focused support for those, often with complex barriers, who are furthest from the labour market into training and future employment with a holistic and person-centred approach.

Carmarthenshire County Council coordinate employment support from its Llanelli Hwb and office, which are based in the middle of Llanelli Town Centre.

For further information about the Communities For Work Plus programme, please visit https://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/council-services/jobs-careers/help-to-find-a-job/ or email c4wplus@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or phone 01554 784847.

Cllr Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said “We’re delighted for Tina and proud of her success in gaining employment with BBC Wales.

“I would urge people in our county, who are looking to get into work, to take advantage of the support that Carmarthenshire County Council can give to you. Our employment support teams can help you identify training opportunities, provide you with a personal mentor, work with you to develop a job action plan, help you to build your confidence and help with writing a CV and completing job applications.

We want to support more people, like Tina, to overcome barriers to get into work.”

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