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Cat loses leg in gin trap

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A CAT had to have a leg amputated after suffering a horrific injury suspected to have been caused by an illegal gin trap.

RSPCA Cymru has launched an appeal for information following the incident, which happened in the Llandysul area last week.

The cat, called Ilka, dragged herself home with a horrific leg injury, and managed to get back to her garden where her shocked owners found her. They took her straight to the vets, where she was given immediate treatment. Sadly, due to her serious injury her leg was amputated.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “Poor Ilka has suffered tremendously and must have ripped herself away from the trap which has resulted in the amputation of her leg. Due to her injuries and the markings on her leg, the vet has suspected that it was caused by a gin trap, which is illegal.”

The trap may have been set in fields or hedges in the Croeslan area near Llandysul where Ikla was found injured on June 18.

Inspector Hogben added: “While whoever set this trap probably didn’t expect to capture a cat, they still broke the law – it is illegal to set a gin trap whether or not it catches anything. Gin traps have to be purposefully set in order to catch an animal so this can’t have been an accident.

“We are appealing to anyone with information about this incident to please get in touch by calling our inspectorate appeal line in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.

“We would also ask local people to be vigilant to keep an eye out for these traps. Not only is it illegal to set a gin trap, it is also illegal to cause an animal to suffer as a result, and domestic animals often fall foul of these traps. Sadly we are seeing an increase in these traps in mid and west Wales.”

Ikla’s owner said they were “shocked and extremely angry” by what had happened.

“It was horrendous. She was spotted dragging herself back across the field, desperate to get home.

“Because the vet thought that Ilka may have damaged nerves in her back in the struggle to get out of the trap, it was touch and go for a few days as whether or not she would survive. Thankfully, she was eventually deemed fit enough to have the operation and her leg was amputated on Wednesday (21 June). She has since been back for a check-up and the vet is pleased with her recovery, although she is quite unsteady on her feet.

“I am angry that someone could have set a gin trap at all, but to do so this close to residential properties shows a callous disregard to the suffering of all animals. I wouldn’t want other cats, or any animal for that matter, to be injured and have to go through the pain and fear that Ilka did.”

Gin traps are mechanical traps designed to catch an animal by their leg, using spring-operated jaws with teeth or a serrated edge. If any legal spring trap has been modified by having teeth cut into the jaws or fencing staples welded onto them, they are also illegal.

The use of gin traps has been outlawed in the UK since 1958, but some are still being illegally used to catch animals such as rabbits and foxes. The sale or possession of such traps is not illegal, but the RSPCA wants to make people aware that they can face prosecution by setting a gin trap.

Anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal faces an unlimited fine and/or six months in prison.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence. Should you wish to help the RSPCA investigate incidents such as these, you can donate online.

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Council tax reduction supports people on low incomes

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A COUNCIL Tax Reduction Scheme is in place to help people who are on a low income. The council administers the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government for people who are liable to pay Council Tax and who live in Ceredigion. With the recent decision to raise Council Tax by 7%, residents on low incomes are being urged to find out if they are entitled to some help towards paying their Council Tax.

People can be eligible for the reduction if they are on a low income, working or unemployed, cannot work because of illness, retired or are caring for someone. The amount of the reduction depends on a person’s circumstances and how much Council Tax they need to pay.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd is the Cabinet member responsible for Financial Services. He said, “We made the difficult decision to raise Council Tax by 7% to reduce the amount of cuts we have to make to council services. The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising.”

“We want to urge anyone who is on a low income to consider if they are eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Tax increases can add pressure onto people’s budgets, and although this increase is vital to keep quality services in Ceredigion, we want to make sure that anyone who is eligible for help gets it.”

For more information on eligibility and how to claim council tax reduction, email revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01970 633 252.

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7% council tax increase to protect education funding

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THE COUNCIL TAX in Ceredigion for 2019-2020 will increase by 7%. The increase was agreed by councillors to reduce the impact of cuts to the Council’s budget and, in particular, to protect education spending. The decision was made in a Council meeting on 21 February 2019.

2% of the 7% increase will be used to protect education spending. Schools budgets have been under severe stress after years of needing to make savings. Costs have increased yet again following the agreement of new teachers’ salary increases together with increased pension contributions. This extra 2% uplift will enable school budgets to be kept flat.

The council tax rate increase is set by three key components, the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase of 7.56%.

Councillor Ellen ap Leader of the Council, said, “We had no option but to ask Council to increase Council Tax by 7% in order to reduce the impact of the cuts we have had to make across council budgets. A successful Ceredigion in the future needs well-funded and well run schools. We want to invest in the future of our children and our county.”

“The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising. The uplift of teachers’ salaries and pensions has not been fully funded by Welsh Government to date. If council tax had not increased, we would have to make deeper cuts.”

In 2018-2019, the average Council Tax Band D property was £1,226.48. The increase means that the same property will pay £1,312.33 in 2019-2020. The council’s budget has been cut by £39m or 25% in the last seven years. The Council will still need to save another £6m in the coming financial year.

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Information management policies updated to improve security

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THREE key information management policies have been updated by Ceredigion County Council. The policies were updated because of new laws and the need make sure that they are effective in a changing technological environment.

The updated policies were approved by the council’s Cabinet in a meeting on 19 February 2019.

The three policies that have been reviewed are:

· Data Protection/GDPR Policy
· Information Security Policy
· Information and Records Management Policy

The Deputy Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Cabinet member responsible for Governance, Councillor Ray Quant MBE said, “The council needs to keep information and data to carry out the many service we provide. Because of this we have to make sure we’re up to date on data and information protections laws. This decision means that we have approved the hard work done to update the policies and make sure that they are fit for use.”

The policies are essential to manage digital and paper records of the council.

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