A harrowing case of three pet dogs found starved to death in a seven-bedroom house has sparked a storm of outrage on social media.
The Citizen has tracked down the dogs' owner 32-year-old Heather Foster, who left French bulldog Rosie, labrador cross Liam and elderly Staffie Buster alone in the house when she left it in February this year.
Speaking from a temporary address in Milton Keynes, Heather said the first she knew of the dogs' deaths was when she saw herself being branded a murderer on Facebook last week.
She claims she had to leave her farmhouse suddenly in February because she feared for her life after being attacked by people with a vendetta against her.
"I left the dogs behind but I made arrangement for a friend to go in, take them and re-home them. I gave him a key. I checked and he said they'd all been rehomed."
In fact, Buster, Rosie and Liam slowly perished, with no food and water, probably over a period of many days.
Their bodies were discovered this month by a former friend of Heather's, who broke the door down of the spacious Eaton Bray property, which is protected by electric gates.
"It was the most awful sight I will ever see. Rosie and Liam were curled up together, dead, on the kitchen floor, I found the body of Buster in the tack room. All three dogs were in a skeletal state," said the former friend who cannot be named.
"How anybody can do this to poor innocent animals, I will never know. It is too distressing for words."
Facebook posts refer to Heather as an evil murderer.
One states: " You should be ashamed of yourself you absolute disgrace of a human being. You will not get away with what you have done to these poor dogs. Liam, Rosie and Buster deserved so much better than you."
Another says: "May you rot in fuckng hell just like you left those poor babies to rot, you filthy animal. How could you just leave them locked up to starve to death."
It is understood anxious residents in Eaton Bray had contacted the RSPCA some weeks previously, concerned that dogs had been left alone in the house.
One resident said: "The RSPCA told us they visited twice but on each occasion they could not see or hear any evidence of dogs being in the house.
"They said they had no power to force and entry and check."
This week the RSPCA was unable to comment on the case.
A spokesman for the charity said: “We are really sorry that we are unable to talk about this specific case for legal reasons but we would like to reassure people that concerns about the welfare of animals are taken seriously.”
Meanwhile Heather, who still has her pet chihuahua with her, said she is "heartbroken" about her animals.
"I loved those dogs. I did not mean for them to suffer. People can call me an evil murderer, but I know the truth," she said.