FOLLOWING public concerns about the welfare of animals at Bramble Hall Farm, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire County Council has released a statement explaining the actions and legal processes taken so far.

In late January, more than 200 animals were taken from the site, a

report of which may be seen here


The removal of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey, was followed by two public protests outside Bramble Hall, reports of which

may be seen here


The county council is officially applying to the magistrates’ court for the forfeiture (permanent confiscation) of animals seized, a procedure independent of any potential criminal proceedings, a

report of which may be seen here


A court hearing is listed for tomorrow, March 7.

Richard Brown, head of Environmental Services and Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “Please be assured that we are continuing to monitor the welfare of animals that remain on site, and legitimate grounds for believing that the welfare of any animals is compromised will result in further action.

“An investigation into potential criminal charges is ongoing.”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team are generally responsible for monitoring the welfare of farmed livestock and taking action under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 where welfare standards are found to be deficient.

A council spokesman said: “The council is also responsible for licensing certain animal establishments, including dog breeding, and for animal welfare in these licensed establishments.

“These welfare roles complement those of the RSPCA, who generally take a lead in ensuring the welfare of companion animals (including dogs and horses) at other sites, with liaison taking place as appropriate.

“Periodic, targeted visits are made by the Animal Health and Welfare Team to licensed operations and sites that present higher risk, and other sites are visited in response to intelligence received.

“A warrant to enter Bramble Hall Farm was executed in 2017, which resulted in a prosecution and conviction in January 2018 for operating an illegal dog breeding establishment, animal welfare and animal by-product offences. Confirmation was subsequently obtained that dogs previously used for breeding had been rehomed pending a possible future application for a dog breeding licence, and no grounds remained for gaining access to the site.

“On January 28 and 29, 2019, the Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team obtained and executed court warrants at Bramble Hall Farm with the support of other agencies and parties.

“The council took possession of a large number of animals from the site on welfare grounds, as supported by veterinary opinion. All of the animals taken into possession were transported to pre-arranged, safe locations where they will be cared for appropriately, under the control of the council, until a court determination has been made.

“A small number of animals were not taken into possession during the operation as there was no veterinary evidence to suggest that their welfare had been compromised or that the animals would be subject to significant risk, at that time.

“Steps have also been taken to ensure that any animal by-products remaining on site were removed. This has since been confirmed.

“The council is continuing to investigate a range of related offences in respect of a number of individuals. It is a large, complex investigation with multiple potential offences.

“Meanwhile, the council has applied to the magistrates’ court for the forfeiture (permanent confiscation) of animals seized. This procedure is independent of any potential criminal proceedings.

“A court hearing is listed for March 7, for the court to consider this application. Depending on the outcome, a period of 28 days will be available for those with an interest, as owners, to lodge an appeal.

“Council officers have been in contact with other people who have been identified as having a potential ownership interest in the animals taken into possession. Where evidence exists, these parties have been notified of the court hearing so that representations can be made.

“Any persons who believe they have a right of ownership in respect of animals seized should notify the council’s Animal Welfare team as a matter of urgency.

“Despite legitimate public animal welfare concerns, Pembrokeshire County Council is unable to prevent any individual from acquiring or keeping animals. Only a court can do that.

“If someone has been convicted for an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the court can make an order depriving/disqualifying them from owning, keeping, participating in keeping or controlling or influencing the way animals are kept, transporting or arranging the transportation of animals.

“There is nothing stopping animals being brought to a site/kept on site until a disqualification is in place.

“Council officers will take all reasonable steps to monitor the welfare of any animals that remain on site, along with other agencies as appropriate.

“Legitimate grounds for believing that the welfare of any animals is compromised or that any illegal breeding activity is occurring will result in further action.

“Should members of the public have any information to identify the ownership of any animals seized or about matters currently under investigation they should phone the council’s contact centre on 01437 764551 and ask to speak to the Animal Welfare team.”