Our Shelter Staff

Working on site at Little Valley Animal Shelter are around 20 dedicated staff who each play a vital part in ensuring the animals we look after receive the best possible care. 

Our animal care team are a group of passionate animal lovers who assess and care for every animal in our shelter from the minute they arrive until the happy day we are able to find their forever home. These staff are split roughly into three teams, one for our dogs, another for our cats and a third for the small and exotic animals. This allows them to truly grow to understand the needs of each individual animal, meaning we can find them the perfect home.

To help them, we employ a qualified animal behaviourist who dedicates his time to animals who need a little more attention from us if they are ever to be rehomed, as well as a small group of administration and maintenance staff.

We’re immensely proud of the hard work the Little Valley staff put in day in, day out, making sure we’re here for Devon’s unwanted and neglected animals when they need us most.

Management Staff

Hugh Lowson - CEO

After working for 30 years in senior management for various healthcare charities, Hugh has recently returned to the West Country in search of a quieter life. He loves dogs and currently owns a Wheaten Terrier and a mixed breed mutt.

Hugh is using his experience to create a forward thinking strategy for Little Valley.

Emily Mayer - Shelter Manager

Emily joins us from an RSPCA Branch background. She has several years’ managerial experience working for another branch, along with two years’ veterinary nursing experience, and a degree in Animal Science.  

Emily has two cats and a house rabbit.

Merryn Walker - Deputy Shelter and Community Animal Welfare Outreach Manager

I’m Merryn, and I’m really excited to be joining the team at Little Valley in March.

I’ll be relocating to Devon from London having spent the last two years at the Mayhew Animal Home. I joined Mayhew as a community based Animal Welfare Officer and was later promoted to Head of Kennels, Dog Adoption and Fostering. Previous to my time at Mayhew, I worked for the National Animal Welfare Trust and completed a degree in Animal Health and Welfare. The topic of my research dissertation was managing kennel stress in dogs, which is a huge passion of mine.

I was very impressed by many aspects of Little Valley, not least by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere but also the obvious dedication towards animal welfare. I feel very privileged to be joining the team, and I’m so excited to help drive Little Valley’s continued success.

Sharon Tolly - Finance Manager


John Coles - Retail Operations Manager

Coming from a background working for both independent and multi-national retail groups, John joined the Little Valley team in August 2021. He’s passionate about animal welfare, having rehomed numerous rescue animals throughout his life – most recently his current pooch, Pepsi.

John’s people skills and wealth of retail knowledge look set to improve our charity shops no end, meaning we can offer a greater variety of stock and an even better customer experience.  

George Hill - Communications Manager

George joins us after a career spanning 22 years in design and print with a strong background in marketing and communications. George left behind a studio management role to join us at Little Valley and is looking forward to getting stuck in to the many projects here at the shelter. George has a rescued Jagdterrier from Hungary called Mala but his favourite dogs are Greyhounds. 

Julie Gellender - Admin and Office Manager

Julie brings many years experience of working within an office environment, including working for the NHS as a Business Coordinator. More recently she was the PA to the CEO and Executive Management Team of a large leisure and entertainment management business.

“I am looking forward to utilising my administrative and office skills
and I’m keen to support the whole team at Little Valley Animal Shelter.”

Julie owns a very excitable Sprocker called Lily who is a typical spaniel with an amazing amount of energy!

Anna Stentiford - Finance Officer

Anna joins us after spending several years working for a large busy Solicitors office in the finance department and has always been interested in accounts. 

She has always had a love of animals after owning a horse for several years and growing up has had chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats and a dog (which was adopted from Little Valley several years ago). Anna spent 12 days in the jungles of Borneo, has previously volunteered at the Blue Cross, a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia for 3 months and a dog sanctuary in Spain.

Anoushka Baker - Community Fundraiser & Event Coordinator

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