Protesters have this afternoon gathered at Haverfordwest magistrates court as the Pembroke Dock 'horror farm' animal welfare case goes to court for the first time.

Western Telegraph:

Today's hearing is a largely administrative affair to formalise the removal of 53 pigs, 80 sheep, three goats, 58 dogs, 20 horses and one donkey taken from Bramble Hall farm in January, and what happens to those animals next.

The request for the order is made against Sean Burns and others, of Rosehill Lodge, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock.

Western Telegraph:

Above - Sean Burns walks into court.

No charges have been brought.

Several protests have already been held near the scene of the farm over ongoing animal welfare concerns.

Following the case today, Thursday, Pembrokeshire County Council said: 

"On the 28th and 29th January 2019, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team obtained and executed court warrants at Bramble Hall Farm, Ferry Lane, Pembroke Dock, 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 have been cared for appropriately, under the control of the Council.

"Today (Thursday, 7th March) the Council successfully applied to Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court for the forfeiture (permanent confiscation) of animals seized. This procedure is independent of any potential criminal proceedings."

After the hearing, a council spokesman said: “We welcome the decision of the magistrates. The order they have made is in the exact terms of the draft order we submitted, including our application for costs.”

The council is continuing to investigate a range of related offences in respect of a number of individuals.

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

Despite 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.