Tag Archives: Carmarthenshire

West Wales: Sean Burns, Kenneth Evans and John Clayton

#TheList Sean Ronald Burns, born 15/08/1970, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke SA71 4RG, Kenneth Darren Evans, born 09/10/1975, of 28 Llys Caermedi, Carmarthen SA31 1GX, and John A Clayton (dob tbc) of 17 Rhos Las, Carmarthen SA31 2DY – convicted on charges relating to cruelty to animals at Bramble Hall Farm in Pembroke Dock and operation of an illegal slaughterhouse

Sean Burns (left) pictured outside court with his solicitor
Sean Burns (left) pictured outside court with his solicitor

Sean Burns was convicted of multiple cruelty charges in relation to 215 animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock SA71 4RG.

The charges included the unlicensed breeding of dogs, welfare and animal-keeping regulation charges relating to sheep, horses, dogs, pigs, and goats.

A total of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey were removed from the smallholding after being found living in squalor and without adequate space, food or water.

Sean Burns pictured outside court

District Judge Christopher James told Burns he had “deliberately” inflicted suffering over a “significant period of time”.

He told Burns the condition of the animals was “extremely poor”, and that some dogs and puppies had “died due to the neglect suffered at your hands”.

Atrocious conditions for the animals on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock

One horse was found with a pipe stuck in its hoof and two horses were found with no access to food or water.

They also found 10 newborn puppies in a plastic food bowl, two of which were dead.

Prosecutor Alexander Greenwood said the dogs were kept in a “hazardous environment”, with no bedding, and the floor wet with urine and faeces.

Atrocious conditions for the animals on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock

The court was told the animals displayed signs of “bullying behaviour” as food was so scarce and the bigger animals were keeping the smaller animals away from food.

The prosecution said this case of animal neglect was “one of the worst examples of its kind.”

The court heard Burns failed to provide documentation for any of the animals.

Defending, Aled Owen told the court Burns “has not got the skills to manage this farm efficiently”.

“Quite frankly, my client is illiterate,” he said.

The prosecution followed an investigation by public protection officers from Pembrokeshire Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police’s rural crime team.

Sean Burns is pictured alongside his mother Pamela Burns.
Sean Burns is pictured alongside his mother Pamela Burns. Although she initially faced similar charges to her son, the case against her was dropped because of her apparent ill health

Sean Burns’ mother Pamela Burns (born 12/08/1945) had faced 24 charges but the case against her ultimately did not proceed because she is said to be suffering from dementia.

Sean Burns was also convicted alongside associates John Clayton and Kenneth Evans on a string of charges relating to food hygiene, operating an illegal slaughterhouse and being involved in the illegal slaughter of sheep to produce ‘smokies’ – a West African delicacy where meat is cooked using a blow torch.

The illegal slaughterhouse operated in one of the agricultural outbuildings, with Clayton and Evans caught in the act by horrified inspectors.

The unit had been set up as a makeshift slaughter hall with six slaughtered sheep at various stages of preparation and further penned sheep awaiting the same fate.

Conditions inside the illegal slaughterhouse being operated on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock, Wales

The court was told that conditions in the slaughter hall were insanitary and the floor awash with blood from the slaughtered animals as well as by-products from the slaughter process.

A herd of pigs was seen wandering among suspended sheep carcasses, feeding on the remains of the slaughtered animals.

Approximately six further carcasses of smoked sheep were found bagged in the boot of Evans’ car, ready for onward supply.

Evidence was gathered by officers and the carcasses were seized for condemnation.

A number of sheep were subsequently euthanized for humane reasons and restrictions were placed on the herd of pigs, preventing their movement off-site to address the potential disease risk and to protect the human food chain.

Conditions inside the illegal slaughterhouse being operated on Sean Burns' smallholding in Pembroke Dock, Wales

Clayton was convicted in 2002 for the same offence alongside David Jones of Moelfre Farm in Llanwnnen, John Beddows of Tregaron, Ceredigion, Trefor Williams of Llandysul, Ceredigion, Alun Evans and his brother Richard Evans both of Abernewrig, Lampeter, Malcolm Taylor of Oldbury, in the West Midlands, and Alun Lloyd of Llanfrynach, Pembrokeshire

Sentencing for these offences is to follow.

Magistrates in Court in Llanelli formalised that order for the removal of the animals owned by Pamela and Sean Burns of Bramble Hall.

Sentencing: Sean Burns was given 20 weeks in prison for illegal dog breeding, animal welfare charges and other summary matters. Although Pembrokeshire Council have incurred thousands of pounds in costs, Burns was only ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge at this stage. He was handed an indefinite ban from keeping animals, including having any involvement or influence over the care or welfare of animals.

Milford Mercury
BBC News
Western Telegraph

Upper Tumble, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire: Thomas King

#TheList Thomas Martin King, born 11/01/1970, of Waungoch, Upper Tumble, Llanelli SA14 6BX – left four ponies to suffer with overgrown and curling hooves

One of four ponies found with painfully overgrown hooves
One of four ponies found with painfully overgrown hooves

Thomas Martin King pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Welfare Act in that he caused unnecessary suffering to a piebald female Shetland pony by failing to explore and address overgrown hooves resulting in her lameness and that he also did not ensure that three other ponies were protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease as shown by their overgrown hooves.

Following the case, RSPCA inspector, Nic De Celis said when he saw the ponies at Beudy Bach in Upper Tumble at the end of July 2019, he found their hooves were “extremely overgrown and curling.”

He said: “As I approached the group of ponies they began to move away, three of them were nodding and moving abnormally and then began high stepping as they picked up speed.

“However the fourth pony, a piebald, appeared to be in some distress and was unable to walk properly and could not keep up with the others. The pony’s front hooves had overgrown forward, were curled up and back on themselves and were rubbing the front of the pony’s front legs when she walked, causing them to bleed.”

The owner – King – was in attendance and had requested for a vet and farrier to be present who arrived at the location, with King keen for the ponies to be treated straight away.

“Once the ponies’ feet had all been trimmed and filed I advised the owner that he must ensure any follow-up treatment advised by his vet is administered and if there are issues he should contact his vet immediately,” said inspector De Celis.

Two days later inspector De Celis attended the location with a vet. One of the ponies appeared sore when walking and the owner was advised to liaise with his vet to provide some form of ongoing pain relief.

In mitigation, the court heard that the horses have been well treated since intervention and King had been remorseful.

Inspector De Celis added: “It is just so important to ensure that hooves are cared for – a simple phone call to a farrier much earlier could have stopped these ponies from any pain or discomfort.”

Sentencing: 12-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months. Ordered to pay £400 costs and a victim surcharge of £122.

South Wales Guardian

Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire: Daniel Williams

#TheList Daniel Ashleigh Williams, born c. 1989, of Garden Suburbs, Trimsaran, Wales SA17 – threw a pet dog 30 feet out of a window, causing him to suffer serious leg and hip injuries.

Smirking dog abuser Daniel Ashleigh Williams of Trimsaran in Wales

Williams threw four-year-old chihuahua/Jack Russell crossbreed Dobbie out of a two-storey high window after breaking into his owner’s flat. The tiny dog fell 30 feet onto the ground below and suffered injuries to his legs and hip.

Smirking dog abuser Daniel Ashleigh Williams of Trimsaran in Wales and victim Dobbie
Evil Daniel Williams and his victim, little Dobbie who is still recovering from serious leg and hip injuries

Williams pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage and a further count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

A victim impact statement was read out in court on behalf of Dobbie’s owner Jordanna Davies, which revealed that since the incident, Dobbie had been taken to the vets for an operation on his leg and hip.

Ms Davies had paid immediate emergency vet fees amassing £2,222.21, and was told if she could not raise the funds required, Dobbie would have to be put to sleep.

Dobbie is still to undergo further leg surgery which will cost £3,000, and a hip operation. Until then, he is currently in plaster.

“It caused me great stress and anxiety,” the statement read.

“I don’t feel safe living there anymore after knowing he was able to smash the window and get in. I was settled before the incident took place. I had to live with my window boarded up for a while.

“Dobbie is a small, defenceless pup who would not hurt anyone.”

Williams’ lawyer, Rebecca Carter told the court that her client had “substantial mental health difficulties and suffers from borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety.”

Sentencing: Jailed for 18 weeks and ordered to pay £1,587.61 compensation to Dobbie’s owner. Banned from keeping animals for two years 


Pontyates, Carmarthenshire: Leighton Donnelly

#TheList Leighton Marc Donnelly, born c. 1984, of Maes Glas, Pontyates, Gwendraeth Valley SA15 – abandoned snakes to starve to death

Leighton Donnelly of Pontyates, Wales, left two snakes to die in an abandoned property

Leighton Donnelly pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal – contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 – when he appeared before magistrates.

The court heard that he fled a property in Baptist Well Street, Waun Wen, Swansea after falling behind on his rent. When the landlord entered the house after weeks of failing to make contact, he found a starving boa constrictor loose in a bedroom.

A dead snake was found in a vivarium in the property.

Jon Tarrant, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told the court the grim discovery was made on April 14, 2019.

Mr Tarrant said the boa constrictor was examined by a vet who said the animal was in a very emaciated state, and had lost a significant amount of body weight.

The vet concluded the snake “would have needed a prolonged period of starvation” to end up in such a poor physical state.

Leighton Donnelly of Pontyates, Wales, left two snakes to die in an abandoned property

In his interview Donnelly admitted that last time he had seen the snakes was in “February or March”.

The defendant, who represented himself in court, apologised for actions.

Magistrates told him courts took animal offences seriously and he had shown a “flagrant disregard for the welfare” of the snakes.

Sentencing: 12-month community order with a rehabilitation course and 60 hours of unpaid work; ordered to pay £400 towards costs. Banned from keeping any animal for two years.


St Clears, Carmarthen: Steffan Harris and Barbara Howell

#TheList Steffan Lee Harris, born 17/12/93, and Barbara Ray Howell, born 21/08/93, of Gorwyn, Tenby Road, St Clears, Carmarthen SA33 4JN – kept dozens of dogs in shocking conditions at illegal puppy farm

Steffan Lee Harris and Barbara Ray Howell kept dozens of dogs in terrible conditions at an illegal puppy farm in Tanygroes, Ceredigion, Wales

Steffan Lee Harris and partner Barbara Ray Howell pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences, running a dog breeding business without a licence, and consumer offences relating to the advertising of dogs online.

Animal inspectors found starving and sick dogs being held in sheds and barns at premises operated by the couple who sold puppies online while pretending to be private sellers.

Paul Hobson, prosecuting, told the court how the couple advertised on a website called, ironically, he said, preloved.co.uk.

One buyer paid £225 for a puppy from a caravan the pair rented at Waun Dwni farm, Tanygroes. The animal became ill before the buyer got back home to Cardiff and they ended up paying £700 in vet’s bills.

Mr Hobson said the puppy had not been microchipped, vaccinated or treated for fleas as the couple had claimed in their advertisement.

A major investigation followed, first by Ceredigion County Council and then by the RSPCA.

Inspectors found 82 dogs being kept in poor conditions – 49 breeding females, 12 males and 21 puppies ready for sale.

Many of the dogs were kept in small enclosures with little light or access to fresh air with poor or muddy bedding and sharp corners and low-hanging electrical cables across the pens.

A lurcher could hardly move, a terrier was tied to a breeze block and a collie had a body score of one out of nine and was close to death.

Another dog was kept in a sealed container and it appeared impossible for anyone to get in to feed or water her, said Mr Hobson.

Inspectors also found pigs squealing through lack of food and water, and chickens that appeared not to have been fed or given access to water. One chicken collapsed in front of them.

The court heard Harris, who was present during the inspection, was “less than cooperative” during the process.

Steffan Lee Harris and Barbara Ray Howell kept dozens of dogs in terrible conditions at an illegal puppy farm in Tanygroes, Ceredigion, Wales
Barbara Howell and Steffan Harris

Harris and Howell both admitted cruelty offences in relation to the pigs and Harris to the chickens.

Mr Hobson said further investigation showed that Harris had a flock of 110 sheep on nearby land, which he rented.

The owner became concerned because he did not seem to be there to look after them and inspectors found sheep carcasses that should have been disposed of properly.

After Harris was made aware of their concerns the sheep disappeared, apart from 19 which he seemed to have simply abandoned.

Mr Hobson said an initial financial investigation suggested the couple had banked £150,000 between 2013 and 2018 through the sale of puppies.

A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation is underway to determine how much money could been confiscated from them. That matter will be settled at a court hearing on 15 November, 2019.

After his arrest Harris said he wanted to get the puppy farm up and running before applying for a licence.

Howell said she only looked after the paperwork.

For Harris and Howell James Hartson said he accepted that anyone seeing the photographs of the dogs could not fail to be mortified.

“They had ambitions for a business but lost control. It is likely the financial consequences will be punitive,” he added.

Mr Hartson urged the judge not to impose banning orders preventing the defendants from owning or being concerned in the care of dogs as that would effectively stop Harris from carrying out his work as a herdsman.

Judge Peter Heywood said animals were defenceless and Harris and Howell had housed them in totally inappropriate surroundings.

“This was a significant commercial enterprise and Harris was the driving force,” he added.

“You were in it to make money and had no regard for the welfare of the animals.”

The judge said Harris, who cannot read or write, had been the “driving force” behind the enterprise while Howell had assisted him.

He said he would be failing in his public duty if he suspended Harris’ sentence, but took into account that Howell had a young child when sentencing her.

Sentencing: Harris was jailed for six months (half to be served on licence) while Howell was given a four-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete a rehabilitation activity requirement. Both were made the subject of banning orders preventing them from owning or being concerned in the care of dogs, chickens, and sheep for the next five years.

Cambrian News

Tycroes, Ammanford, Wales: Nigel Ward

#TheList Nigel Jeremy Nicholas Ward, born c. 1957, of Ceidrim Court Farm, Penygarn Road, Ammanford SA19 3PH – for cruelty offences involving three horses, one of which died

One of the three horses mistreated by Nigel Ward of Tycroes, Ammanford

Ward admitted one offence of causing unnecessary suffering to three horses by failing to address their poor condition.

The court heard that back in January 2019, in the Mountain Road area of Glanaman, concerns were raised about the welfare of three horses, with the defendant causing unnecessary suffering to them by failing to adequately explore and address their poor condition.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “It was very clear that these three horses’ needs were not being met.

“They were in a poor condition and were noticeably thin.

“The field they were being kept in was totally unsuitable and they were very exposed from the mountain side.”

The three horses were seen by a specialist vet at the location.

Despite remaining under the care of the vet, one of the horses, a tri-coloured horse, was unable to be saved and died.

The court heard in mitigation that the horses had had foals which caused a drop in their condition and the defendant thought the field would be sufficient for them.

He admitted this had been a bad decision and also accepted misjudging the weather.

The court also heard that he attended every day but after 14 days it became clear that they were losing condition.

The court heard that since the incident, Ward has been able to rehome half of the horses which were in his care.

Sentencing; 24-month community order with 25-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. Total of £607 fine and costs. Deprivation order on one horse. No ban.

South Wales Guardian

Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire: Stan and Heather Strelley

#TheList Stan Strelley and wife Heather Strelley, both born c. 1978, of 34 Bron, Gwendraeth, Kidwelly SA17 4HT – failed to meet the needs of 35 ponies and caused them to suffer

Horse abusers Stan and Heather Strelley of Kidwelly, Wales
Stan and Heather Strelley are well-known on the showing circuit

RSPCA Cymru were shocked to find the ponies with overgrown hooves, cuts and scrapes to their bodies and surrounded by broken glass, brick, metal and old machinery on their land.

Banging noises could be heard at the site – and rescuers soon found a collapsed shed with ponies trying to push their way through the fallen metal roof. 

Three distressed ponies inside did not have room to stand up without hitting themselves and they were forced to crouch causing their legs to buckle.

Horrific conditions in which horse abusers Stan and Heather Strelley of Kidwelly, Wales, kept 35 ponies
RSPCA Cymru found a collapsed shed with ponies trying to push their way through the fallen metal roof

Conditions at the shed were so bad that the building was bursting at the seams with soiled faeces and had nails protruding from the walls.

Horrific conditions in which horse abusers Stan and Heather Strelley of Kidwelly, Wales, kept 35 ponies
The building was so dilapidated the ponies were not able to stand up without hitting themselves on the roof

Shockingly, the bones of a deceased pony were found on a muck heap nearby. 

A further 20 ponies were discovered in a separate building – almost all of which were living in horrific conditions.

Part of the building’s roof was collapsing, and the ponies were living on many feet of faeces.

Some three ponies were found to be underweight, six were lame, and a further three were trapped in a collapsed shed. 

An investigating RSPCA inspector has said the case amounted to ‘shocking neglect of a large number of animals’.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: ‘I will never forget the sound of hearing a pony trying to bang his way out of a collapsed shed.

‘It was an horrific discovery – with three ponies trapped beneath fallen metal roofing sheets, in conditions so horrendous I was left cold. They were desperate to get out, but had no way out before we arrived.

It was confirmed in court that both individuals kept showing showing ponies – and, indeed, some were found at the site groomed and in far better condition that other ponies.

The judge labelled the overall conditions at the site ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’.

Twenty-two of the ponies were signed into the care of the RSPCA – with the other 13 remaining at the property, but moved away from the poor environment in which they had been forced to live.

The pair now have 28 days to make arrangements for the ponies still in their care.

Mr Hogben said: ‘This complex investigation found shocking neglect of a large number of animals – with ponies kept in hugely inappropriate conditions; and many left to suffer with serious weight loss or lameness.

‘Remarkably, both individuals were showing ponies – and continued to do so during our investigations.

‘There was a clear priorities problem – with some animals groomed and treated far better; while others were left in appalling conditions. It was one rule for some – and another rule for the others.

‘It is so hard to understand how anyone lets conditions get so bad for their animals.’ 

Stan Strelley – 16 weeks in jail, suspended for a year; a total of £415 costs and charges; 190 hours of unpaid community work and 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days

Heather Strelley – 12 weeks, suspended for a year; a total of £415 costs and charges. 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Both were banned from keeping ponies and horses for five years – and cannot appeal this ban for a period of one year. 

Daily Mail
BBC News

Ammanford, Carmarthenshire: Clifford Johnson

#TheList Clifford Roy Johnson, born c. 1953, of 121 Llandeilo Road, Llandybie, Ammanford SA18 3JD – left his horses unattended for five weeks.

Clifford Roy Johnson was banned from keeping horses for two years after being found guilty of three counts of animal neglect

Clifford Johnson, who runs an animal feeds business and in 2015 stood as a UKIP candidate, was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering after his horses were removed from Brynhyfryd Farm by the RSPCA in 2016 following reports from concerned members of the public.

Clifford Roy Johnson was banned from keeping horses for two years after being found guilty of three counts of animal neglect

Johnson had three horses which were found to be between 20 and 30 percent underweight, ‘riddled’ with parasites and in pain with hooves which made them lame.

Clifford Roy Johnson was banned from keeping horses for two years after being found guilty of three counts of animal neglect

A vet who examined the mares diagnosed them with starvation and said they were suffering under pain and distress.

Magistrates heard how the horses were left in a field devoid of grass and did not have anywhere comfortable to stand or lie down.

Johnson had kept horses for over 20 years but explained to the court that he didn’t trust vets.

Clifford Roy Johnson was banned from keeping horses for two years after being found guilty of three counts of animal neglect

He said he was growing the horses’ hooves out ‘to level them’, had been observing them from a 300-metre distance every day and explained he was having trouble with trespassers who he believed had poisoned his horses.

Johnson said: “They seemed fine. I would never in my life ill-treat a horse. I was distraught when I saw what had happened to them.”

RSPCA Inspector Barker, who attended Johnson’s property in December 2016 said the horses had been left to fend for themselves.

After the three mares were taken into RSPCA care, one sadly had to be destroyed.

Within six weeks in their care, the two remaining horses had gained 44kg and 67kg, had their hooves tended to and were free from parasites.

Clifford Roy Johnson was banned from keeping horses for two years after being found guilty of three counts of animal neglect

Johnson was found guilty of three counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal by failing to investigate and address the causes of the poor bodily condition and weight loss; failing to properly care for and maintain necessary hoof care; and failing to carry out effective parasite control.

Finding Johnson guilty, Magistrate Mr Parry-Williams said: “You admitted not closely inspecting the horses for a number of weeks.

“The horses weighed 20 to 30 percent less than their ideal weight; they had a chronic infestation of parasites and their hooves had made them lame.

“They suffered as a result of your neglect.”

Sentencing: 150 hours of community service over 12 months,; ordered to pay £835 in court costs and victim surcharge. Banned from keeping horses for just two years (expired September 2019).

South Wales Guardian

Llwynhendy, Llanelli: Craig and Sophie Palmer

#TheList Craig Palmer and Sophie Palmer (née Richards) of Dylan, Llanelli SA14 9AN – failed to treat their pet dog’s serious skin condition

Convicted animal abusers Sophie and Craig Palmer from Llanelli and their neglected dog, Bella
Sophie Palmer and husband Craig Palmer failed to take Bella to the vet for treatment for a painful skin condition

Craig and Sophie Palmer pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering after leaving terrier Bella to get into a “truly shocking state”.

In December 2015, the RSPCA found the dog with virtually no hair remaining on her body.

She was taken to a veterinary practice for independent assessment, where it was found the animal had unnecessarily suffered.

Convicted animal abusers Sophie and Craig Palmer from Llanelli
Convicted animal abusers Sophie and Craig Palmer from Llanelli

RSPCA Inspector Rohan Barker said: “This poor dog had been allowed to get into a truly shocking state, with this case highlighting exactly what can happen if an owner does not ensure their animals receive appropriate veterinary care.

“Fortunately, after getting the treatment she so desperately needs, Bella has undergone an incredible transformation.”

Sentence: 12-month supervision, and 90 hours of unpaid work each; total of £310 costs and charges each; banned from keeping animals for three years (expired November 2019).

Llanelli Herald
BBC News

Burry Port, Carmarthenshire: Shaun Hearne

#TheList Shaun Leo Marshall Hearne, born 26/05/1994, of 36 Isgraig, Burry Port SA16 0DE – kept four dogs in a van covered in faeces and failed to feed them properly

Career criminal and convicted animal abuser Shaun Leo Marshall Hearne from Burry Port, Wales

Career criminal Hearne pleaded guilty to two counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

The court heard RSPCA inspectors had visited the defendant on March 4, 2014, after reports of dogs in a poor condition being held in a white van.

“When they found the animals they noticed some were very thin and some were in a reasonable condition,” the prosecutor said.

He added that there was no water found for the dogs.

Inspectors were called out due to the weather and the “overpowering smell of excrement”.

“Hearne was told that it was unacceptable and he promised to keep them in a better location,” the prosecutor said.

However when they returned three days later they found the same four dogs in the van and the smell was even stronger. At this point the vet and police were contacted.

“Mr Hearne was cautioned and at that time he said ‘get out of my face or I will put you on the floor’,” he said.

Mr Tarrant said: “The floor was covered in excrement and it stung the inspector’s eyes and it made breathing difficult.”

The court heard that all four animals were seized.

Two dogs were found to be seriously underweight and had pressure sores due to a lack of adequate bedding.

Within a month, the two animals had seen their body weight increase by 30%, simply through nourishment.

Sentence: 12-month community order, 200 hours of unpaid work, total of £1,560 in costs and charges. Five-year ban on keeping animals (expired February 2020).

Llanelli Star Facebook post (article removed)