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RSPCA urge public to protect animals over New Year

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fireworksRSPCA CYMRU is reminding members of the public to consider the needs of pets, and the welfare of animals, as celebrations to welcome 2017 draw nearer.

Fireworks are a common part of New Year’s festivities – but many animals can find them deeply distressing, and RSPCA Cymru is reminding the public of the many practical steps which can be taken to help protect their welfare.

Pet owners have been urged to plan ahead, with action such as sound-proofing and the provision of safe enclosures all able to help reduce firework phobia among Wales’ companion animals.

Lisa Richards, RSPCA welfare expert, said: “As many of us celebrate the start of 2017, the festivities can also be stressful for many animals – including our pets. Fortunately, there are a lot of straightforward steps which people can take to help keep their pets safe, and to ease their pets fear of loud noises.

“From making sure dogs and cats are indoors when fireworks are likely to be set off, to masking firework noises, and providing pets with a safe place to hide at all times, it’s so important pet owners plan ahead.

“Small animals living outside should be provided with lots of extra bedding to allow for burrowing, whilst parts of their enclosure could be covered with a blanket to provide further sound-proofing and insulation.”

Farm animals and wildlife can also be negatively affected by fireworks. RSPCA Cymru continues to urge organisers of events to avoid letting off fireworks near where animals are housed.

The charity is also reminding people as to the possible dangers of using sky lanterns, as part of any New Year celebrations. They can cause injuries to animals which lead to suffering, and even a slow, painful death.

Paul Smith, RSPCA public affairs manager added: “Sky lanterns, commonly known as ‘Chinese lanterns’, present a significant danger to animals, and can cause injuries which lead to suffering and a slow, painful death.

“The fact a majority of Local Authorities in Wales has banned these devices on their land only highlights the danger they can pose.

“Risks to animals include ingestion, entanglement and entrapment; whilst lanterns can also cause fire, destroy habitats or damage animal housing and feed.

“Whilst sky lanterns may look pretty, people need to remember that what goes up, must come down – so, for animal’s sake, we’re urging the public to give sky lanterns a miss this New Year.”

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Community

RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Community

Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Success for Dyfed-Powys Police in targeting drugs suppliers in Ceredigion

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A drugs supplier in the Ceredigion area has been sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison.

Kylie Mason, 34, from Aberaeron, was arrested on the 28th October 2019, and later charged with 2 offences of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and two offences of supply a controlled drug of Class A. She pleaded guilty at court and received a total sentence of two years and two months in prison on the 8th January.

Detective Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This is an excellent result for the Aberaeron community, who had raised concerns about this individual supplying drugs in the area. I hope this will serve as a warning to others who wish to bring drugs into the Ceredigion area that it will not be tolerated. This result will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe. If anyone is worried about drugs in their community I would urge them to contact police as we will take the appropriate action.”

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