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Cruel farmer's ban is doubled on appeal.

Byline: Liz Keen

CRUEL farmer Kym Hughes felt the full weight of the law when he appealed against a two-year ban.

The 45-year-old part-time farmer was banned by magistrates from keeping any animals after he maltreated a 15-year-old thoroughbred horse called Maizie, who suffered from skin eruptions and hair loss.

But when he took his appeal to Cardiff Crown Court hoping to restrict the disqualification to horses alone to allow him to go on farming, Hughes found little sympathy.

Recorder Stephen Hopkins QC told him he was unfit to look after any livestock or pets and more than doubled the existing ban to five years.

The Recorder told Hughes, of Gwendoline Street, Blaengarw: "We wholly endorse what the previous magistrates did but they did no go far enough. We are disqualifying you for five years.

"If you are capable of maltreating such a noble creature in the way you did it is our unanimous view that you should not be trusted with the care of any animal."

Mr Hopkins also made it plain he believed Hughes, who received Government subsidies to keep sheep as well as unemployment benefits, had got away lightly when he was fined just pounds 100 by the previous bench, when the maximum penalty is a pounds 5,000 fine or six months in jail or both.

He said: "It did not reflect the seriousness of the case.

We see no reason why you should not meet the whole pounds 600 cost of bringing this hopeless appeal."

The Recorder praised RSPCA inspectors Nichola McNeill and Christine Johnson for their care of Maizie after they took him from Hughes last year.

Turning to the press bench, he added: "These pictures should be published so that people know the courts will not be slow to deal with those who maltreat animals this way."

Huw Wallace, counsel for the RSPCA, said: "When the mare was found again in April it was thin, suffering chronic mud fever, had skin eruptions and hair loss on all four legs."

Solicitor Gwydion Hughes, for Hughes, who had pleaded guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary suffering, said:

"He was going through a divorce at the time and was on Prozac for depression."

Hughes will be allowed to keep his 465 sheep, who are presently lambing, until May 22 because subsidies for the past year will only be paid to him if he still has the animals on May 15.

Mr Hopkins said to take them off him sooner would be imposing a double penalty but he warned: "You are not to obtain any more sheep or other animals meanwhile."

Inspector McNeil told the Echo: "We are delighted with the outcome and pleased that the efforts of the RSPCA had been recognised.

Perhaps this will be a deterrent to others."

CAPTION(S):

BANNED Kym Hughes has been banned from keeping animals after he maltreated Maizie. Above, Maizie, who was suffering hair loss and skin eruptions because of the maltreating. Below, a fully recovered Maizie.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 4, 2002
Words:499
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