A SMALLHOLDER who left emaciated sheep and a pony to die in a field has been banned from keeping animals for two years.

Jane Edwards was also told to complete 100 hours of unpaid work after Flintshire Magistrates Court heard another two sheep were left in emaciated conditions at a field off Picton Lane in Penyffordd, near Holywell.

RSPCA officers found the carcasses of the sheep and a Shetland pony, which was so badly decomposed it was in a “mummified” state, on Edwards’ land.

She said one of her rams had turned “nasty” which left her fearing entering the field to tend for the animals.

She also claimed her pleas for help from the farming community had fallen on deaf ears.

“One of the rams kept ramming me and I asked farmers to help me, but they said it was a 'stupid woman doing a man’s job',” said Edwards.

“I just chucked the feed over the gate and they did have water as there was a bath in the gate.”

Glen Murphy, prosecuting for the RSPCA, said carcasses of sheep and a Shetland pony were found in the 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.

“She said there was enough grass for the sheep and she had chucked hay over the gate when they were last alive,” said Mr Murphy.

“She said she was 'disgusted' with herself and 'loved all the animals to bits'.”

Edwards, 47, of Riverbank, Bagillt, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to two sheep by failing to provide adequate nutrition and parasitic control in February.

She told the court a ban from keeping animals would hurt her.

“It would break my heart. I would never ever hurt any animals. I have learnt my lesson and it will never happen again,” she said.

Magistrates voiced their concern when they heard how many other animals Edwards was looking after at her smallholding.

Edwards revealed she was caring for six horses, 12 sheep and ewes, five pigs, six goats, four geese, three turkeys, three chickens, a heifer and 10 dogs and cats.

The court heard while there was “some concern” for some of those animals, RSPCA officers were not planning to intervene, but Mr Murphy added: “She is looking after all these animals on her own and the RSPCA view is it is too many.

“There are grave concerns how she will cope.

“There was neglect [with the other animals] and a high level of suffering and it resulted in the death of an animal [one of the sheep].”

Edwards’ ban means she cannot care for any animals, apart from cats and dogs, on her land for two years.

She was also told by magistrates, who said they recognised her remorse, to pay £300 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.