ROBERT and Gwyn Bassett of Brook Farm, Llanmaes, Lantwit Major Vale of Glamorgan pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court on December 18, to 39 charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering and failing to provide a suitable environment, diet and appropriate care for a herd of approximately 100 head of cattle.

The brothers also pleaded guilty to 10 charges of failing to cover carcasses to prevent birds and animals accessing them, for failing to dispose of carcasses without undue delay, for failing to notify the deaths by returning the cattle passports and for failing to keep an up to date herd register.

The Vale of Glamorgan Trading Standards department began investigating following complaints received from the public. Cattle were found kept in appalling conditions in derelict buildings with nowhere to lie apart from in slurry. The cows were suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and exhaustion.

Despite 10 improvement notices being served by council officers and numerous visits supported by veterinary surgeons the brothers failed to comply and the situation did not improve.

Vale of Glamorgan Council seized the herd of cattle on March 18 and 19, 2013 to prevent any further suffering to the animals and removed them to Hillside Animal Sanctuary where they could be given the appropriate care. Eight of the cattle were in such a poor condition they had to be humanely put to sleep, but 92 were saved. Subsequently the Trading Standards Department applied for an Order under Section 20 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to take ownership of the cattle which was granted by Cardiff Magistrates Court.

Robert and Gwyn Bassett were each sentenced to a five year ban preventing them from owning and keeping animals, to an eight months suspended sentence for two years, £15,000 fine and £7500 costs. The brothers have six months in which to pay the fine, failing that, they face a potential 12 month custodial sentence.

Principal Trading Standards officer Christina Roberts-Kinsey said “This has been a harrowing case of wilful animal neglect. Despite the best efforts by this department to ensure compliance with animal health legislation, it was ignored by the Bassett brothers. The sentence provided illustrates the seriousness of the offences committed by the farmers. I would like to thank Hillside Animal Sanctuary for aiding us and providing a home for the herd.”