A CARDIGAN man found guilty of a string of animal welfare offences and several other charges has been sent to prison for 18 weeks and banned from keeping animals.

Toby William Holland, of Blaenporth, Cardigan, was back before the court at Aberyswyth Justice Centre for sentencing after being found guilty of 10 offences at an earlier hearing, having been remanded in custody.

Animal welfare officers of Ceredigion Council’s public protection team visited the farm on January 29, 2019 and found a number of animal welfare issues.
A sheep was found to be lying on its back unable to move and it was evident that it had been there for some time.

Despite requesting that Holland seek veterinary assistance for the animal, a visit the following day had found that he failed to seek treatment for the animal and left it to die. He was found guilty for the unnecessary suffering of this sheep.

The officers found a barn containing 19 pigs. On seeing the officers, the pigs were shrieking for food. The pigs were very thin and kept in an accumulation of muck with no dry lying area available.

Within the pen were two dead pigs to which the live pigs had access. A post-mortem of one of the dead pigs found that the animal had likely died of starvation after finding no fat reserves remaining in the carcass.

The vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency who attended the farm concluded that both the dead and live pigs had been suffering unnecessarily, and Holland was found guilty of these offences.

He was also found guilty of failing to meet the needs of the animals, by failing to provide a dry lying area for the pigs.

The visit on January 29, 2019 also found a number of sheep carcasses strewn across the fields. It was clear that that they had been there for some time, and the live sheep had access to the same field.

The District Judge found Holland guilty of failing to dispose of the carcasses in accordance with the requirements of a notice served under The Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (Wales) Regulations 2014.

A follow up visit on May 30, 2019 found the pigs were kept in a field where they had access to plastic bags, metal sheeting with sharp edges, and animal bones and skulls.

These items could cause harm to pigs, and he was found guilty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of not providing a suitable environment for the pigs.

There were sheep carcasses in the fields, that Mr. Holland failed to collect and dispose in accordance with legal requirements. He was found guilty of a further offence under the Animal By-Products Regulations.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment in total for the offences, and he was issued a disqualification order for two years from keeping any animals.

The court deemed the offences so serious because of the prolonged ill-treatment and neglect of the animals. He had also committed previous similar offences and ignored warnings given by the local authority.

A further eight convictions were set aside by the court.

Following sentencing, Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet member for Public Protection Services, said: “The majority of farmers in Ceredigion have excellent farming practices, that ensures the highest standards of animal welfare.

“Unfortunately we must deal with a minority who for whatever reason fail to meet basic legal standards. I wish to thank the partner agencies who assisted the authority in the investigation, and the officers for their hard work in handling a difficult case.”

Holland also pleaded guilty to several other charges.

He admitted driving a vehicle on the A487 at Synod Inn on January 17 last year that he knew had been taken without the owner’s consent for which he received a two-week concurrent prison sentence and driving without insurance for which his licence was endorsed with six points.

He also admitted theft after driving off and failing to pay for petrol worth £50 at Llechryd on November 19, 2019. Holland was given another one-week concurrent jail term and ordered to pay compensation of £50

Holland also admitted breaching the terms of a community order previously imposed by the court and failing to attend an appointment for unpaid work and a meeting with his probation officer for which he was given a four-week prison sentence to run concurrently and ordered to pay £60 costs.

He was given a further two-week concurrent sentence for failing to surrender to custody having been granted bail by the court.

The 49-year-old was also ordered to pay a total of £895 in costs, of which £750 was to the local authority.