Allegations of endemic animal cruelty on a Bagillt smallholding

Earlier this month a 47yo smallholder named Jane V Edwards (née Caunce) of Riverbank, Bagillt, Flintshire was banned from keeping any animals except dogs and cats for two years after two sheep and a Shetland pony were found dead in a snowbound field off Picton Lane in Penyffordd, near Holywell.

After sharing our earlier post about this case to our Facebook page, we were inundated with messages from local animal lovers all too familiar with the cruelty of Jane Edwards and, allegedly, her wider family – husband John Edwards, daughter Emma Edwards and sons John Edwards jr and Aaron Caunce (the latter from a previous relationship) and  various minors that we can’t yet name due to their age.

We heard that animals from sheep, pigs and goats through to dogs, cats, horses and rabbits were living a hellish existence on the squalid smallholding run by the Edwards.

Locals supplied us with video and photographic evidence purporting to show conditions at the farm. One video showed a thin-looking goat quite clearly in pain with a badly injured rear leg, which our contact said had been untreated for some time.

We were sent dozens of photographs taken at Edwards’ smallholding showing dead sheep decomposing in a muddy field, depressed-looking pigs living in filth and ravenous semi-feral cats and kittens desperately seeking shelter from the elements. A neighbour of the Edwards family told me she has been feeding the animals herself in a desperate bid to keep them alive until the RSPCA get their finger out and remove them from a clearly harmful situation.

Dead sheep on Jane Edwards' Bagillt smallhold

Scenes from Jane Edwards Bagillt smallholding

One particularly horrifying photograph we were sent showed a dead fox entangled in a wire fence.  A tragic accident, you’d have thought. But closer examination shows that the fox’s rear legs have been tethered to the fence with string. In other words, he’d been deliberately tied up, unable to escape and would have died  an agonising death.  Again we understand this took place on the Edwards’ land and, if the allegations are true, would make any right-thinking person extremely concerned about the type of people we are dealing with here.

Decomposing fox on Jane Edwards' land

All available evidence points to the Edwards’ smallholding being a scene of chaos and horror, a veritable hellhole where multiple species of animals co-exist amidst ramshackle, make-shift buildings, squalor, death and decay. The people meant to be caring for these helpless creatures instead show utter contempt for their welfare.

Photographs of Jane Edwards' Bagillt smallholding

But surely following the RSPCA’s successful prosecution of Jane Edwards, many if not all of the animals (dogs and cats were excluded from the ban, remember) would be removed to safety? Apparently not. Shockingly, it is perfectly legal for Edwards to transfer ‘ownership’ of them to her husband, who, if accounts from several different sources are to be believed, is every bit as twisted as his wife.

And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say.

We saw footage of one son, John Edwards Jr – a big lad, obese actually –  who was trying to mount a small unsaddled pony while being goaded by his mother and other family members, who seemed to find the pony’s obvious terror hilarious.

One contact told us how they had witnessed another son, Aaron Caunce, rip the heads of live pet rabbits just for fun and that he went on to boast about it, leading him to being barred from his local pub.

Worse was to follow with the video footage below, taken last weekend at the Edward’s smallholding, showing a weak, emaciated collie-type dog named Jessie pacing despondently back and forth in a state of obvious distress. The local who captured the footage contacted the RSPCA who failed to attend despite her pleas for assistance. In desperation the local uploaded the video to her Facebook profile and it soon went viral.

The local said she knocked on the Edwards’ door and offered Jane Edwards £100 for Jessie but was knocked back. She added that a local animal activist then upped the offer to £200 for the dog but she too was told no.

Later that evening Jane Edwards was apparently seen carrying Jessie’s lifeless body across the yard. When challenged, she said that the dog had died. She said that she hit her with a hammer and that she (Jessie) was bleeding from the eyes. This account is unconfirmed but, if true, then Jane Edwards needs to be arrested and charged without delay.

The local told me that one of Edwards’ children – a 12yo girl – seemed unfazed that a family dog had met such a brutal end and simply said: “She was no good anyway”.

Jessie’s body has apparently been buried and the Edwards are point-blank refusing to say where.

The Facebook group Justice for Jessie has been set up to monitor developments and is campaigning hard for the Edwards family to be prosecuted for animal cruelty and disqualified for life from keeping animals. All of them.

We are happy to support this group’s campaign to bring this bunch of mentally deficient hillbillies to justice and help prevent any more animals coming to harm at their hands.   
Edwards family
York Press
Daily Post
Justice for Jessie FB group

Ely, Cardiff: Lynne Patricia Hodges and daughter Emma Louise Hodges

#TheList mother and daughter Lynne Patricia Hodges (DoB 23/06/1962) and Emma Louise Hodges (DoB 20/01/1992)  of 17 Grand Avenue, Cardiff CF5 4GJ – left their West Highland Terrier Dougal to suffer in agony with infections and a flea infestation

Cardiff mother and daughter Lynne and Emma Louise Hodges to suffer in agony with infections and a flea infestation
Cardiff mother and daughter Lynne and Emma Louise Hodges to suffer in agony with infections and a flea infestation

The RSPCA described Dougal’s flea infestation as being one of the worst they’d ever seen. The little dog was also suffering a chronic eye infection and severe ear infection and his hair was extremely matted.

The Westie was in so much pain that he kept crying out during examination and had to be sedated.

Sadly Dougal was so poorly that vets had to eventually put him to sleep to prevent any further suffering.

Dougal’s owners Lynne Patricia Hodges and daughter Emma Louise Hodges pleaded guilty to three offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

They were sentenced at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 24/07/2018.

Lynne Hodges was given a 20-day rehabilitation activity referral, a 12-month community order, a curfew order between 10pm and 6am for two months and £150 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

Emma Louise Hodges was given a 12-month community order, a 15 days rehabilitation activity referral, 100 hours of unpaid work, £300 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

Wales Online

Southsea, Portsmouth: Barry David Shaw

#TheList Barry David Shaw, born 25/08/1983, currently in prison but most recently of Merton Court, Victoria Road South, Southsea – brutally kicked a seven-month old chihuahua named Coco  in a fit of rage leaving the tiny pup with missing teeth, bloodshot eyes and bruising.

Portsmouth's Barry David Shaw and his helpless victim, chihuahua Coco
Career criminal and now convicted animal abuser Barry David Shaw from Southsea, Portsmouth, and little Coco, the dog he almost killed

The animal cruelty charge against lifelong criminal Shaw – who has family links to Stockport – was proven in his absence.

RSPCA Inspector Andrew Kirby, who investigated the incident, said:

‘This was a horribly sad case where poor Coco was left with serious injuries.

‘She was near to death when she was taken to an emergency vet in a collapsed state with missing teeth, bloodshot eyes, and bruising.

‘Shaw admitted in interview he’d lost his temper with Coco after her owner left him alone with her while they nipped out.

‘When the owner returned they discovered what had happened to Coco and rushed her for treatment with a vet.

‘There is no excuse for subjecting an innocent animal to such violence.

‘It is very lucky that Coco’s tiny body survived such an horrendous attack.’

Sentence: 16 weeks in jail.  Banned from keeping or owning any animals for just 12 months (expires July 2019).

The News

Bagillt, Flintshire: Jane Edwards

#TheList Jane Edwards, aged 47, of Riverbank, Bagillt, Flintshire, Wales CH6 – left emaciated sheep and a pony to die in a snow-covered field.

Smallholder Jane Edwards left sheep and a horse to die in a snowbound field
Smallholder Jane Edwards (pictured) left sheep and a horse to die in a snowbound field

Carcasses of sheep and a Shetland pony were found in a field and two live sheep, one a black-horned ram, were found sheltering in a shed.

Both were extremely thin and there was no sign of hay or feed in the snowbound field.

One had since died in care, while the other has been boarded.

A vet concluded the animals were malnourished through neglect and a post-mortem examination found one of the other dead sheep was suffering from anaemia and had a parasitic infection.

Edwards admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the sheep by failing to provide adequate nutrition and parasitic control.

Sentence: 100 hours of unpaid work; total of £385 costs and charges. A shocking TWO-year ban on keeping animals.

The Press

Canonbie, Dumfriesshire: Matthew Hammond

#TheList Matthew Thyne Hammond, born 22/10/1985, most recently of Thorniewhats Farm, Canonbie, Dumfriesshire – punched and kicked a Jack Russell terrier to death because she didn’t want to walk with him

Hammond originally from North Berwick killed a tiny dog while in a drunken rage
Jockey Matthew Hammond originally from North Berwick killed a tiny dog while in a drunken rage

Hammond, who is originally from High Street, North Berwick and is now said to be living in Scotland Street, Carlisle, drunkenly attacked the 2yo dog. Concerned neighbours called police after hearing her distressed yelping and squeals.

Hammond was seen attacking the tiny dog and dragging her along the street for a hundred yards.

The brutal incident happened at 5.30am as Hammond, who had been staying with friends overnight after being out drinking, had been walking to his home in a caravan with his Jack Russell and a  bull terrier belonging to his partner.

Police traced him to the caravan where the dead pet was lying in a blanket on the floor and they arranged a post mortem.

Hammond’s solicitor said the incident had had a “catastrophic” effect on her client’s working life.

He has left his job as a stable assistant with James Ewart Racing in Langholm. A jockey with links to Micky Hammond Racing, he has given up ownership of a horse and has no contact with animals of any kind.

Sentence: community payback order. Banned from keeping any animals for just three years.

BBC News
News & Star

Lemington, Newcastle upon Tyne: Sue McVay

#TheList hobby breeder Sue McVay, aged 58, of Beanley Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne NE15 8SP –  neglected multiple cats and guinea pigs and kept them in squalor

Convicted animal abuser Sue McVay from Newcastle upon Tyne
Hobby breeder Sue McVay is banned from keeping animals after starving cats and guinea pigs were found living at her Newcastle home in filthy conditions.

McVay was found guilty of causing suffering to animals after failing to attend court in a case brought by the RSPCA.

An RSPCA inspector visited McVay’s address on 3 April 2017 after a report from a concerned member of the public. The inspector recalled being met with a horrible smell as she entered the property. Floors were covered in animal faeces and rubbish The inspector discovered six cats  all of whom were underweight and covered in faeces. One of them had an untreated burst abscess.

The inspector then discovered 12 neglected guinea pigs living in filthy cages.

The animals were taken to the vet to be examined during which two of the cats were found to be suffering. One named Ruby appeared to have conjunctivitis as well as an ear disease while another named Saki was underweight and suffering from oral diseases.

The animals are currently recovering in foster homes.

Sentence: total of £630 costs and fines and an unspecified ban on keeping animals. 

The Chronicle

Bournemouth, Dorset: Charmaine Collins

#TheList Charmaine Victoria Louise Collins, born 02/01/1990, of Rosebery Road, Southborne, Bournemouth BH5 2JH – let 61 animals die in her maggot-infested flat

Hoarder Charmaine Collins

Mother-of-one Collins crammed 196 animals including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils and lizards as well as ducks and chickens in to her two-bedroom flat at 25 Hamilton Road in Boscombe before she was raided by police and the RSPCA. Some animals had gone without water and food for at least a week. Of the 196 animals, 61 died.

Animals in filthy cages at Charmaine Collins' flat

The court heard that Collins, who had started a degree in veterinary care, had established an animal breeding business called Fairytales with a friend. However, the friend backed out around two weeks before the flat was raided.

Officials found 48 animals in a small shed in the property’s communal garden. Many of the creatures inside – including 30 guinea pigs – were dead at the time, or died shortly afterwards.

Entry was then forced to the flat, which was in darkness and without electricity. As RSPCA inspector Patrick Bailey panned a torch around the dark rooms, the beam fell on a severely dehydrated rabbit, which was “convulsing”.

Officers were cofonfronted with loosely-stacked crates and cages filled with animals and smaller creatures suffocating in plastic containers.

More rabbits were confined to these containers, unable to move in any direction.

An animal carcass infested with maggots was also discovered. Decomposition indicated the creature had been dead for some time.

The RSPCA had first become involved with Collins in April 2016 over “similar issues”. At that time, Collins sought help from officials and some months later had just two dogs and a lizard.

However, she then began buying animals from fairs and shows. Ten days after she was interviewed by police, she travelled to Holland to buy 70 rodents. All have now been seized by the RSPCA.

Collins, who currently works as an assistant for Poole photography business Lite-Box Imagery,  admitted six charges relating to the care of the animals.

Sentence: 12-month community order and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days; total of £330 costs and charges. Banned from keeping any animal for the next 10 years (expires July 2028).

Daily Echo
Daily Mail

Wickford, Essex: Claire Rayer

#TheList Claire Rayer (DoB 01/10/1985) most recently of Victor Mew Close, Wickford SS12 9HX – scalded American bulldog Snoops with boiling water while he screamed in agony

Sick mother-of-one Claire Rayer from Wickford and Snoops, the American bulldog she starved and scalded with boiling water.
Sick mother-of-one Claire Rayer from Wickford and Snoops, the American bulldog she starved and scalded with boiling water.sad

Twisted Claire Rayer had pleaded not guilty, but was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to 8yo Snoops, whom she had been looking after for his owner, Matthew ‘Maf’ Luderman.

Witness described hearing Snoops’ howls of agony and horrific photographs of his injuries were shared widely on social media. A police investigation followed and mother-of-one Rayer was charged with animal cruelty.

Aside from being tortured with boiling water, poor Snoops had also been starved and then panic-fed  before police arrived. He had no food in his bowel but was over-fed in his stomach.

Snoops  was kept in a sterile vet unit for two weeks after the incident because of the severity of the burns.  Happily he recovered, at least physically, and is now back living with his owner, Maf.

Sentence: 4 months and 2 weeks in prison. Banned from owning an animal for life.

Echo News

Gravesend. Kent: Jon Dunn, Bridget Saunders and Ronnie Vine

#TheList for horrific horse neglect – career criminal Jonathan Levi Dunn, born 20/12/1983, and partner Bridget Linda Saunders, born 25/11/1986, both of the Denton gypsy traveller site at Dering Way, Gravesend DA12 and Ronnie Vine, born c. 1972, of Havengore Avenue, Gravesend DA12

Gypsy travellers and horse abusers Jon Dunn and Bridget Linda Saunders of Gravesend

The offences related to 13 horses which were part of a large group kept in appalling conditions in a field near Denton Caravan Site, Dering Way, Gravesend.

The horses were kept in a field which did not have enough grazing to sustain the numbers, and it was riddled with litter and hazards such as barbed wire, plastic bags and plastic netting.

The main water source was a dyke contaminated due to decaying horses’ remains and was green and full of rubbish.

The RSPCA had also discovered a large number of dead and rotting horse bodies littering the field.

There was a drain with the manhole cover removed, which led to a 6ft drop which the horses could have fallen into.

Speaking about the case RSPCA inspector Rosie Russon said: “Many of the horses taken were just youngsters and had probably only known a life of misery, sickness and riddled with worms, in a field far too small for them, with no grazing, and a lack of supplementary feed.

“It is such an awful shame that in this day and age, we are still seeing cases of animal cruelty of this scale.

“I was truly horrified at the sheer number of horses being kept in such terrible conditions in one small location, the horrors were clear for all to see – yet despite this the owners failed to make improvements for them.

“This is one of the largest number of horses that the RSPCA has taken into its care in the Kent area in recent years, and I am pleased to say that almost all of the horses are now doing exceptionally well.”


Dunn – 26 weeks in prison; disqualified from keeping any equines for 10 years (expires July 2028).
Saunders – two-year conditional discharge; total costs and charges of £130; a mere three-year ban on keeping all horses (expires July 2021) .
Vine – total costs and charges of £1,430; banned from keeping any equines for just one year (expires July 2019).

Kent Online

Our image shows Jonathan Levi Dunn and partner Bridget Linda Saunders. Dunn is from a notorious family of travellers based at Barnfield Park Caravan Site, Ash, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 7LY, who between them have multiple convictions for theft and driving offences, not to mention horse cruelty. In February 2017 three members of Jon Dunn’s family – Harry Dunn (08/08/1981), Matthew Dunn (05/08/1989) and  cousin Tommy Tucker Dunn (10/06/1986) – were also banned from keeping horses after they left sick animals in the same field as a rotting carcass and poisonous ragwort. See also here.

This conviction was preceded by a similar one in August 2012 when Tommy Dunn Senior and Tommy Dunn Junior were sentenced to pay £5000 in costs each and Shirley Dunn was ordered to pay £500 in costs after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to horses and failing in their duty of care under the Animal Welfare Act.

Matlock, Derbyshire: David Grant

#TheList David Richard Grant, born 1973, of 212 Smedley Street, Matlock DE4 3JD – kept malnourished and lame sheep in appalling conditions.

David Richard Grant, who had a previous conviction for animal cruelty, kept poorly sheep in appalling conditions
David Richard Grant, who had a previous conviction for animal cruelty, kept poorly sheep in appalling conditions

David Grant pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to sheep at a smallholding in Bakewell, Derbyshire Dales.

Investigating Police Constable Karl Webster said: “When visiting Grant’s smallholding in Bakewell on February 26 police and trading standards officers found conditions to be woefully substandard with far too many animals being kept for the facilities available.

Hillside Animal Sanctuary investigated animal neglect at David Richard Grant’s smallholding

“A flock of over 40 sheep were housed in a small shed with contaminated bedding which had led to high instances of lameness due to foot-rot.

“Others were very thin and suffering the effects of malnourishment.

“The attending vet took the decision that four of the sheep needed to be put down to end their suffering. Many more were in need of medical treatment.

“Other animals at the location were also found to be living in substandard conditions.”

The court heard how Grant failed to provide suitable living conditions, treatment and veterinary care for the animals resulting in pain and suffering.

PC Webster added: “The conviction came as a result of an investigation by our Rural Crime Team and Derbyshire County Council’s Trading Standards department which began in February.

“The foundations of the case lay with members of the local community alerting the Hillside Animal Sanctuary about the conditions at the smallholding. Fears for future of Barrow Hill’s historic church and ‘architectural gem’

“This was followed by some excellent work by their operatives to obtain evidence of the conditions which was later passed to the police.”

Hillside Animal Sanctuary stated that they received reports that Grant was keeping animals in terrible conditions. A sanctuary spokesman said that an investigator visited and filmed the terribly neglected and many lame sheep and the findings were reported to the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team who joined forces with Derbyshire Trading Standards to bring charges against David Grant.

A Hillside Animal Sanctuary said: “We were relieved to find out that David Grant was successfully convicted and received a lifetime ban from keeping farm animals and a suspended prison sentence.”

Sentencing: ten weeks of custody suspended for 12 months with 180 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Banned from owning or keeping livestock for ten years.

Derbyshire Live