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Suspended jail term after ‘shocking’ rabbit neglect

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A 43-YEAR-OLD man from Narberth appeared at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Feb 13) after he neglected 22 domestic rabbits.

Andrew Michael Williams, of High Street, pleaded guilty to the charge.

Prosecutor, John Tarrant, told the court: “On October 8, 2016, an inspector attended High Street in Narberth. They saw at the back of the property there was a terraced garden with huches and a yellow garden bucket. In the lower section of the garden there were three blocks of hutches with live and dead rabbits.

“There was some water but no food, and the inspector contacted the police.”

Mr Tarrant continued: “The inspectors and veterinarians arrived and gained entry with police assistance. Williams had been drinking heavily, and on entering, the property was unkempt and there was rabbit faeces on the floor. They called out but had no reply, and found Williams on the bed in a drunken state.

“There were no sheets and vomit was present, as well as 20-30 vodka botles and decaying food.”

Mr Tarrant explained that there were rabbits loose in the hallway, and as the inspectors approached they ran into the garden, where they found both live and dead rabbits.

He explained: “There was one dead rabbit on the floor and live and dead rabbits in the hutches. The grass had all been eaten.

“There was also a yellow garden bucket with putrified remains of several rabbits.”

In total, there were eight dead rabbits and 14 others.

Mr Tarrant said: “In a group of rabbits in cage 5, there was evidence of cannibalism: only one of the rabbits had its ears intact. None of the rabbits in hutches had access to food or water.”

When Williams was interviewed, he said he was not going to comment a great deal. However, when asked about the yellow bucket, he said ‘stop reminding me of that’ and said there were ‘all sorts of people coming in and ou of my garden.’

Williams signed over all the rabbits except one called Loki.

Defence solicitor, Michael Kelleher said: “The facts are shocking, and Williams is shocked as well. You might think he dislikes rabbits, but this is not the case. He has kept rabbits since 2005. He’s got a fridge just for them, and they are part and parcel of his life.”

Mr Kelleher explained that Loki is a house rabbit, and is a descendant of a previous rabbit he had.

He continued: “Williams’ mental health hasn’t been good and he has suffered with alcoholism. He managed to keep looking after the rabbits, and would buy all of his clothes from charity shops so that food was available for the rabbits.

“He suffered with deep depression and was hospitalised immediately after he was found in the state he was in.”

Mr Kelleher told the bench that Williams believed the animals were fed, but it was the alcohol that has fooled his mind. He said: “The rabbits were his family. When he was arrested, he said ‘I’ve let me best friends down. I’ve left my family down’, and was referring to the rabbits.

“He refused to sign over Loki and is desperate to have him back. He believes his mental health will be affected if Loki is not returned.”

Probation officer, Julie Norman explained that Williams had told her he had been keeping rabbits for over 10 years, but had recently been suffering with mental health.

She said: “His father had gone on holiday and he relapsed when he was on his own.

“He was drinking heavily over a two week period and didn’t know what was going on. He is very remorseful, but thought they were being fed. Clearly they weren’t.

“He is particularly stressed abou Loki. He doesn’t go out much because of anxiety – to be able to come here today, he was prescribed diazepam from his doctor just to get on a bus.”

Magistrates told the court that they had taken a considerable amount of time with their sentencing, and are bound by their guidelines.

Williams was banned from keeping animals for five years, and sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. No requirements were imposed. He must also pay £300 costs and £115 victim surcharge.

WARNING: Graphic images below.

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Llanteg: Car crash causes large tailbacks

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A CRASH on the A477 in Llanteg has caused large traffic tailbacks this afternoon (Sept 25).

Emergency services, including Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service are at the scene.

Rush hour traffic is starting to slow in both directions.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area if possible.

There are currently no reports of serious injuries.

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TV voices lead massed choirs at St David’s Cathedral

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THE HEAVENLY voices of Llanelli’s Angelicus Celtis, ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent Semi-Finalists, will be leading an army of voices performing at St. David’s Cathedral next month (Oct 7).

Angelicus Celtis from the ranks of the international broadcast and performance voices of Wales’ Hywel Girls’ Choir & Hywel Boy Singers will unite with the Hywel Choirs, Llanelli Choral Society and Haverfordwest Male Choir (musical director Richard Stephens) for an momentous massed voice performance of ‘A Journey of World Music’ on Saturday, October 7, at St. David’s Cathedral.

The evening will also star acclaimed organist Huw Tregelles Williams OBE, pianist Jane Jewell, orchestral percussionist Gareth Hamlin – all under the baton of legendary conductor John Hywel Williams MBE.

The artists and stunning performance return to the cathedral by popular demand after last year’s sell-out performance in October 2016.

This year’s performance highlights will include magical moments from opera, classical, sacred, cinema, musicals and international music.  Exciting highlight will include Habanera, Benedictus, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Nimrod, a poignant tribute to veterans and the centenary of WW1, Holy City,  a world premiere of a choral arrangement of Karl Jenkins’ Palladio Allegretto by John Hywel & Jeremy Hywel and Angelicus Celtis’ acclaimed rendition of Nessun Dorma as seen by millions of TV viewers around the world… to name but a few.

Angelicus Celtis who have enjoyed a whirlwind year of television and radio broadcasts, were recently featured on BBC’s Songs of Praise filmed from Pembrokeshire where they gave a moving rendition of Be Still My Soul from the beautiful surroundings of Manorbier Castle.

Tickets for A Journey of World Music (£15, £20) can be obtained via www.ticketsource.co.uk/hywelchoir, by telephone 07795 236807, at St. David’s Bookshop or at the door.

Doors open 6.45pm. Performance commences 7.30pm.

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Parent networking groups to be held this autumn

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PARENT network groups for people whose children need extra help and support are being held this autumn in various locations around Pembrokeshire.

The groups are an ideal opportunity for parents and carers to chat to other people in their local area who might have similar issues facing children with additional learning needs, and share experiences over a cup of coffee.

The parent network groups are led by local parents and organised by Pembrokeshire County Council. They are facilitated by an Inclusion Support Officer from the Council who will be on hand to give further advice and information if needed.

There are eight different groups, which are meeting in Narberth, Crymych, St Davids, Tenby, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Fishguard, and Pembroke.

The sessions are being held as follows:

Fishguard, Town Hall

8th November

13th December

 

12-1pm

6-7pm

  Narberth, Bloomfield House

25th September

6th November

18th December

 

6-7pm

10-11am

Pembroke, Foundry House

19th October

30th November

 

6-7pm

10-11am

St Davids, City Hall

24th October

12th December

 

6-7pm

12-1pm

Haverfordwest, Archives Centre

9th October

20th November

 

 

10-11am

6-7pm

Tenby, Community Learning centre

26th October

7th December

 

 

6-7pm

6-7pm

Preseli, Community Learning Centre

19th October

7th December

 

 

12-1pm

6-7pm

Milford Haven, Hubberston Community Learning Centre

23rd October

4th December

 

 

6-7pm

10-11am

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