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Cyngor Gwynedd successfully prosecutes animal welfare case

A RHYDYMAIN farmer has been ordered to pay more than £2,500 in fines and costs and to carry out 150 hours of community service, having been found guilty of nine offences involving animal welfare and the failure to properly dispose of animal carcasses.

Mr Liam Hughes, who farms on land at Bron Einion, Rhydymain near Dolgellau was found guilty of causing the unnecessary suffering to some of his sheep flock, failing to dispose of animal carcasses, and failing to comply with official notices issued by Cyngor Gwynedd (the Enforcement Authority) in relation to sheep scab at Caernarfon Magistrates Court on 19 May 2023.

Mr Hughes had pleaded not guilty to the charges brought by Cyngor Gwynedd.

Evidence was presented in relation to the welfare of sheep, which had suffered unnecessary, with their needs to be protected from pain, suffering, injury, and disease being denied.

Evidence was also presented with respect to a failure to dispose of sheep carcasses; to notify the Local Authority of the treatment administered to sheep infected with sheep scab; and in relation to the removal of sheep from the holding that was subject to an Isolation Notice, running the risk of spreading that disease.

Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Cyngor Gwynedd cabinet Member for Environment said: “Our Trading Standards officers actively work closely with the farming community, through advice and intervention, to ensure high standards of animal health and welfare are achieved.

“I wish to stress that the vast majority of farms in Gwynedd provide these expected standards, and most farmers go above and beyond to ensure the welfare of their animals.

“However, where there is non-compliance – as in this particular case – the Council has no choice but to take the necessary enforcement action.

“I would like to thank the officers for their work on what can be sad and distressing circumstances, and to the Magistrates for their professionalism in dealing with this case.”

Magistrates issued guilty verdicts against Liam Hughes in relation to four charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, for which a sentence to 150 hours community service was given. The community service is to be completed within 12 months, and failure to do so could result in a custodial sentence.

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Three guilty verdicts were determined in relation to carcasses under the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (Wales) Regulations 2014, with each charge receiving a fine of £100.

Two additional guilty verdicts were determined under The Sheep Scab Order 1997 by virtue of s.73 of the Animal Health Act 1981, with each charge receiving a fine of £100.

The court also awarded the Local Authority a £2,000 contribution towards costs, and a £95 Victim Surcharge, with the total payment of £2,595 to be paid within 56 days.

For advice relating to health and welfare or on keeping farmed animals or to report an animal welfare problem Gwynedd residents should call the Trading Standards animal health line on 01766 771000, or email [email protected]