A GWENT man was banned from keeping any livestock and given a 12-month community order after pleading guilty to a series of animal cruelty offences.

Brenig James Hardacre, 45, of Trinant Terrace in Trinant, admitted 30 counts relating to livestock including cattle and ponies at Newport Magistrates’ Court in February.

Hardacre had pleaded guilty to six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and 10 counts of breaching the duty of a person responsible for an animal to ensure its welfare.

He also admitted 13 counts of failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure the conditions under which farmed animals were kept complied with regulations and two counts of failing to properly dispose of dead animals.

Yesterday, Hardacre was also given 300 hours of unpaid work in the community reduced to 200 hours for an early guilty plea, and a victim surcharge of £60 at Newport Magistrates’ Court.

Father-of-four Hardacre was told to pay a contribution of £1,000 to costs and was given a disqualified order under Section 49 of the Animal Welfare Act (2006) banning him from owning or keeping any animals, excluding domestic pets, until further notice.

Susan Eads, prosecuting, said 17 visits were made to Lower Llanerch Farm and Old Gelli Farm in Trinant – owned by his father, who could not attend court as he suffers from dementia – in early 2013 by Caerphilly council’s Trading Standards team.

Eight dead ponies and one dead cow were found on farmland, while 58 horses, 21 cattle, 45 sheep, and eight pigs were taken into possession by Caerphilly council’s Trading Standards team.

Ms Eads said many of the ponies on the farm had excessive weight loss and worn-out front teeth caused by grazing on stones due to a lack of grass. She also said carcasses had been found in the boot of a vehicle belonging to Hardacre.

Ms Eads added there was a significant amount of evidence showing Hardacre had neglected the animals, saying one animal could not stand up without help “because it was so weak”.

Hardace had claimed some ponies had been dumped on the land without his knowledge, and had only agreed to take responsibility of the farm due to his father’s ill health.

Ashley Harkus, defending, said: “Brenig tried to persuade his father to sell [the animals] but his father refused.

“Brenig Hardacre did not take any financial gain from this farm at all – he was simply doing it for his father. The farm had deteriorated to what can only be described as a ‘hobby farm’ despite the large number of animals.

“It was a task doomed to failure from the very start. In hindsight, I guess he should have walked away but he did it for his father. It’s a very sad state of affairs.”