A St Davids farmer has today (Friday) lost an appeal against his sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to five ponies.

Ian Morgan Griffiths, aged 54, had pleaded guilty at Haverfordwest magistrates court and had been made the subject of an 18 week jail sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work for the community.

Griffiths, who runs two farms at Berea as well as providing bunks style accommodation for 400 people plus camping and caravan sites, was also banned from keeping horses for five years.

During an appeal hearing at Swansea crown court, barrister Craig Jones said Griffiths had staged a festival on his land and someone complained about the state of three Shetland ponies and two Welsh Mountain ponies.

The RSPCA were alerted and found that their hooves were seriously overgrown to the extent they could not walk properly if at all.

Mr Jones said the necessary treatment would have cost as little as £15 per pony and there were plenty of people available to carry out the work.

David Williams, representing Griffiths, argued the sentence was unjustly high.

One consequence, he said, was that Dyfed Powys police had withdrawn Griffiths' shotgun licence because the sentence was over three months long.

As a result he could no longer stage clay pigeon shooting events.

He said Griffiths' wife had died in 2010 and he had found himself looking after three children as well as two farms and extensive accommodation.

Mr Williams said Griffiths was of the ninth generation to farm the land and this had been the first prosecution in the family's history.

"He's deeply upset at what has happened. As soon as the entent of the problem was made clear to him he handed the ponies over the RSPCA," added Mr Williams.

He said Griffiths would be appealing against the withdrawal of his gun licence.

Judge Geraint Walters, sitting with two magistrates, dismissed the appeal.

He said the mitigation available to Griffiths had been reflected in the magistrates' decision to suspend the prison sentence.

Griffiths, he added, had had the resources to pay for the animals to be looked after properly and it was no excuse that he had been too busy.

Judge Walters said the magistrates had made a mathematical error in that Griffiths had been entitled to a one third discount in return for his early guilty plea.

As 26 weeks was the maximum sentence available 18 weeks represented more than two thirds.

Consequently, the 18 weeks suspended sentence was reduced to 16 weeks.