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Animal cruelty cases at four-year high in Wales

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A WEST WALES man has been found to have failed to provide proper care for five equines, as animal cruelty prosecutions hit a four-year high in Wales.

Throughout 2017, 148 convictions were secured by the RSPCA in magistrates’ courts across Wales, compared to 120 in 2016, 89 in 2015 and 116 in 2014.

Levels of animal cruelty have been branded ‘extremely shocking and deeply saddening’ by the RSPCA’s superintendent in Wales.

In total, the RSPCA investigated 10,176 complaints of cruelty over the calendar year. The 148 convictions relate to a total of 67 defendants – a rise on the 61 convicted in the previous year. A further 52 offenders were cautioned by the animal welfare charity in 2017.

The man from St David’s was banned from keeping horses for five years after he failed to provide proper care for five equines, in what an RSPCA inspector has described as the ‘worst case of overgrown hooves’ he has had to deal with in more than 18 years as an RSPCA inspector.

The man admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to three mini Shetland ponies known as Tango, Titch and Tex and two Welsh mountain ponies known as Tiggy and Pedro by failing to provide them with adequate hoof care.

RSPCA inspector Nic De Celis, who attended the man’s home address with RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This was the worst case of overgrown hooves I’ve taken action on.

“What we were confronted with was five ponies with such overgrown and deformed hooves that two of them were reluctant to stand, let alone walk.

“It is really sad that things had got to such an awful state and hadn’t been deal with before things got so bad. It was revealed in court that it had been ten months since the ponies were seen by a farrier.”


The man was given an 18-week imprisonment sentence, suspended for two years and was ordered to undertake 200 hours community service, pay costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £150. He was also banned from keeping horses for five years, with four weeks to re-home the two remaining horses left on his farm.

RSPCA Cymru’s superintendent Martyn Hubbard said: “It is extremely shocking and deeply saddening to see this level of horrific cruelty across Wales.

“Last year we dealt with several distressing cases that involved video evidence, that had been shared via social media.

“This evidence understandably causes great distress and public outcry. Thankfully due to valuable information being reported to us in confidence, we are able to investigate and bring any animal welfare offenders to justice.
“There is just no excuse for animal cruelty and will continue to ensure animal welfare laws are adhered to.

“Prosecution is always a last resort for the RSPCA – and court cases were the huge minority of the 28 complaints we investigated on average every single day of 2017.

“Nevertheless, the nature of cases dealt with by our frontline officers throughout 2017 once again demonstrates the importance of this work, and the necessity of securing justice for abused and neglected animals in all corners of the country.”

Many of the incidents dealt with by RSPCA Cymru throughout 2017 concerned horses, and other equines. Despite the efforts of the RSPCA and other equine welfare organisations, the crisis shows no sign of easing, with the charity struggling to find stables and funding to keep the large number of horses it has had to take in. As soon as one horse is re-homed, another is waiting to immediately fill the stable and, as a consequence, the majority of horses taken in by the RSPCA have to be cared for in private boarding stables at further cost to the charity.

Last year, there were 17 convictions in relation to equines in Wales and RSPCA inspectors dealt with 1,331 equine calls which involved 4,616 equines in total.

To report a horse – or any other animal – in need of help you can call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash

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Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.

She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:

“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.

“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment. 

“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river. 

“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.

“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.

“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.

“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.

“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”

The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago. 

Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.

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UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery

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LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.

Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.

They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:

• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures

Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:  

“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”

“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS said:

“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”

“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”

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Search for Susan Smith continues

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THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.

Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”

“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.

Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”

Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.

She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.

Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.

Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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