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

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