A guilty plea was reached for 9 charges relating to animal welfare, animal by-products and bovine tuberculosis regulations at a livestock farm and dog breeding establishment near Llandysul.
On 1 October 2020, Mr & Mrs IDG & EE Evans of Arthach, Blaencelyn Llandysul pleaded guilty to these charges at Aberystwyth Justice Centre.
Ceredigion County Council had been working with the licensed breeders to improve the standards of the dog breeding facility, however now the establishment is no longer licensed for breeding due to long standing failures to meet the minimum standards expected. During a dog breeding visit in November 2019 the Veterinarian and Animal Health Officers found a number of issues. Mrs. EE Evans pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Pug dog through her failure to obtain veterinary treatment for an eye condition.
In addition she pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to two spaniels, by failing to ensure the enhancement and enrichment of those dogs. The District Judge saw video clips played in court showing the dogs repetitive circular pacing, the vet concluded that the bland and poor environment could be direct attributed to this stereotypical behaviour and caused unnecessary mental suffering.
The Court also heard evidence in relation to poor standards of husbandry for the cows kept on the farm. Mr. DGE Evans pleaded guilty to failing to meet the needs of animals under his responsibility as required by good practice. These charges included the gross overcrowding of the cattle sheds. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Animal Health Officer visited in February 2019 following a complaint, and found the pens of the shed so overcrowded that cattle did not have sufficient space to lie comfortably, and there was significant competition for food and water.
The sheds also found cattle with no dry lying area, with their coats heavily soiled with slurry and muck indicating they have been exposed to these conditions for a long period. In addition one pen was found to have a newborn calf and mother in similar conditions with bedding soaked in manure, and they were housed with other adult cattle meaning there was a risk of injury to the new-born calf. For these charges of failing to meet the needs of these animals as required by good practice, Mr DGE Evans pleaded guilty.
Also found on the farm was a sheep with a broken leg, that had been in that condition since July 2018. There was no evidence of veterinary treatment sought for this animal, it was since destroyed to prevent any further suffering. In court Mr. DGE Evans admitted causing unnecessary suffering to this animal.
Both defendants also admitted to failing to dispose of animal by-products, namely sheep carcasses. During the visit by Animal Health Officers in February 2019, four sheep carcasses were found in various stages of decomposition in the fields.
The pair admitted a further charge of failing to comply with a notice issued by the Animal Health & Plant Agency (APHA) which identified inconclusive tuberculosis (TB) reactors in a recent test. The notice required the farmers to separate and isolate these animals to prevent the risk of spreading TB to the other animals in the herd. During the visit in March 2019, the Animal Health Officers found the cows in question has not been separated.
Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Ceredigion County Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement Services and Public Protection Services, said: “I am grateful to officers and legal staff for their diligence in following up on these matters and securing a guilty plea through the strength of the evidence gathered and robust preparation. Whilst the huge majority of farmers in Ceredigion practice animal husbandry to high standards, unfortunately we must deal with a minority who for whatever reason fail to meet basic legal standards.”
In sentencing, the District Judge took into account the previous clean history of the farmers. They were fined a total of £7336.00 for all the charges, which included legal costs of the authority.