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      For purpose of this record - and to include whole year - 'Hunting Season' runs from start July-end June

  N.B.   Entries are in REVERSE chronological order. Stories are below each month's headlines 

WARNING   Likely to contain images you may find distressing

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JUNE 2007

….. 21st June - Woman OAP 'terrified' by abusive call from Old Surrey FH supporter

….. 21st June - Tory ex Minister says Hunts 'blatantly' ignoring ban

….. 21st June - Holderness FH Huntsman quits because not able to kill foxes

….. 21st June - Heythrop FH hounds panic rare falcons & kids at Centre

….. 21st June - Blackmore FH hounds kill fox in village garden, attack pets

….. 14th June - Bicester FH open new kennels at Stratton Audley

…..  8th June -  Quantock SH Huntsman & Whipper-in convicted of illegal hunting


Woman OAP 'terrified' by abusive call from Old Surrey FH supporter

Had complained about frenzied' hounds invading her garden

21-6-07   Thisiskentandeastsussex    'OAP threatened' after complaint about hunt dogs    A woman from Brasted Chart has been left terrified after receiving a threatening phone call she believes was from hunt supporters.

The 68-year-old, who was too frightened to be named, said she was verbally attacked after complaining about "frenzied, screaming hounds" bursting into her garden in pursuit of a fox. Shaken from the incident, she contacted Chartwell, the former home of Winston Churchill now owned by the National Trust, whose land the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt was using. Later that day she received the abusive phone call.

"After speaking to Chartwell, I was told they had contacted someone from the Hunt," she said. "That evening the phone rang and straight away a man started swearing and said if I complained about the Hunt he would come and mess my garden up. I was so shocked I had an angina attack. It was just so unnerving, so we called the police."

Police have launched a probe into the phone call. The woman, who has only lived in the area for six months, said the whole ordeal had left her shaken and intimidated.

"It's nerve-wracking because I'm old with a medical problem and my husband is 81 and disabled. I knew we were moving into a hunt area but I don't want it to come through my garden. They're big dogs, about 60lbs - what if there was a child around?"

But joint master of the Hunt, Graeme Worsley, said he was "totally perplexed" by the situation. He said: "No phone call of a threatening manner has come from any official capacity of the Hunt. If it's someone who joins us then we will not hesitate in throwing them out on their ear. It's not in our interest to behave like that from a PR point of view and we will not tolerate anyone making threatening phone calls."

Mr Worsley added that hunt officials had since traced the woman and apologised. Of the dogs jumping into the woman's garden, Mr Worsley said: "With all best intentions, accidents do happen. There's no point in saying otherwise. If the dogs go off, we do everything to get them back again."

Chartwell spokeswoman Judith Seaward said: "The Hunt does have a licence to go across National Trust land and we are responsible for them on our land but not if they go anywhere else."

Police confirmed they were investigating the incident. Insp Adrian Allen said: "The woman's daughter reported the phone call her mother received to police. An officer has visited the woman and is now looking into the matter."

POWAperson adds -  The following applies to this item and all those below dated 21-6-07. These items were discovered by accident in 2019. They were posted by Huntwatch over a decade ago. Huntwatch recorded and disseminated info on illegal hunting, hunt havoc, etc. Their website from the time no longer exists. All the items are on the same 'forum' page, all dated 21-6-07, and the links to the online press stories no longer work. I am therefore not sure on what dates the press stories were published, but presumably all are from the 2006-7 season.


Tory ex Minister says Hunts 'blatantly' ignoring ban

21-6-07  Western Daily Press [no longer online]   Hunting ban is a farce!    A former Home Office Minister last night claimed the hunting ban was being "blatantly and deliberately" broken because police and prosecutors were failing to enforce the law.

There have been just three known convictions since the controversial hunting ban was introduced, MPs were told last night. And only one of those was for hunting with a pack of hounds according to Tory MP Ann Widdecombe.

The other two cases involved individuals with two dogs, the fervent anti-hunting campaigner revealed. The convictions were all from 2005. Figures for last year are not available until the autumn.

Ms Widdecombe said Hunts considered themselves "above the law" and urged the Government to put pressure on police and the Crown Prosecution Service to take action. She also revealed she had overheard pro-hunting MPs bragging about deliberately breaking the law in their constituencies.

One successful conviction began as a private prosecution by an anti-hunting group, the MP said, referring to a West case. And she told the Commons hunters seemed able to break the law with impunity.

"It is quite wrong if there is any group of people which believes it is uniquely above the law and furthermore that its breaches of the law may be blatant and rejoiced in," she said. "I think there is an absence of understanding throughout the police forces and an absence of willingness among the highest levels of the police forces. It does seem that the message is going out that the law can be broken blatantly and deliberately and nothing will be done."

Home Office Minister Joan Ryan rejected the attack on police and CPS performance. She said: "It's not for the Government to direct chief constables how to deploy their resources to deal with hunting. If anybody has evidence they should make it available to the police who have made it clear that they will act on any evidence received."


Holderness FH Huntsman quits because not able to kill foxes

21-6-07 [no longer online]   Holderness Hunt leader quits & gets a proper job   Professional huntsman Robert Howarth says he has been forced to quit his job and become a lorry driver after the introduction of the ban on hunting foxes. The huntsman, who is a familiar figure in rural East Yorkshire, can no longer live with the frustration of not being able to do his job - hunting foxes.

Mr Howarth, 43, is retiring from the 250-year-old Holderness Hunt, based at kennels in Etton, near Beverley, after being its huntsman for 11 years.

Enthusiasts paid tribute to him when he set off with his beloved pack of hounds for the final hunt of the season at South Dalton, near Beverley, yesterday. Senior hunt master William Bethell said in footballing terms Mr Howarth had taken the Holderness Hunt from the second division to the Premiership.

Mr Howarth said the change of career to long-distance lorry driver was forced on him by the ban, which came into force on February 18, 2005. He said: "This decision has not been taken lightly. There's been a lot of soul searching because hunting is in my blood and is my life. Deep down, I knew after the ban I might have to quit and do another job because it goes against everything I was taught. I have hunted for two seasons within the law, like following a false trail, but my training is to hunt a fox, catch it and account for it, to control the fox population."

As a professional huntsman, Mr Howarth is responsible for the daily running of the kennels, breeding the hounds and hunting the pack every Tuesday and Saturday.

Although many find killing a fox with hounds distasteful, Mr Howarth said it was the most efficient way of controlling their population. He said: "Fox hunting only takes place between October and March, but death by shotgun, poison or trapping can happen all year."

Mr Howarth was the first person in Britain to be threatened with criminal proceedings after his hounds caught a fox just days after the ban. He said: "I was pleased to learn the case would not be pursued, but the incident did strengthen our argument the legislation is unworkable. The past two seasons have been frustrating for me as huntsman and the hounds, which have been bred for centuries just to hunt foxes. I will be very sad to leave the Holderness Hunt, but what I am doing now to comply with the ban is not the job I know and love. I can't see the ban being overturned for some time, if ever, so the door is open for a new breed of young huntsmen who can work with the constraints."

Mr Howarth and his family are now set to move to a cottage at Lund, near Beverley. He will be working for a Dutch haulage company, which also operates in the UK. Tomorrow, he will carry out his last official public duty on horseback for the Hunt - leading out horses and rides at its point to point races at Dalton Park.

Mr Bethell, of Rise Park, near Skirlaugh, said: "Robert is leaving at the top of his profession, but I know he has not been happy with the new arrangements and we have to respect his wish to move on." Mr Howarth's successor is young huntsman David Elliott, 25, of Gilberdyke, near Brough, who has hunted with the Lamerton Hunt in Devon for the past four years.


Heythrop FH hounds panic rare falcons & kids at Centre

Breeding programme for probably damaged, say owners 

Likely to cost Falconry Centre thousands of pounds 

21-6-07  Cotswold Journal    Rare breed birds panic as hunt hounds invade    NESTING birds at the Falconry Centre at Batsford scattered their eggs and were injured flying around cages in panic as hounds from the Heythrop Hunt tore through on Saturday. Families with young children in pushchairs and toddlers screamed in terror as the pack of around 20 hounds bounded through the centre and neighbouring Arboretum Garden Centre.

Geoff Dalton, founder of the falconry centre, said staff were now anxiously monitoring birds and their eggs to see if the breeding programme for this year was ruined. With a waiting list for several of the rare birds of prey bred at the centre, the damage could run into thousands of pounds if eggs fail to hatch. Some birds carrying eggs inside them may have burst them, which may cause peritonitis.

Mr Dalton said he had called a vet to examine the birds. "We are monitoring them very closely," he said. "If we lost chicks it would be a disaster. Several nesting pairs abandoned their nests, scattering the eggs, and some of these may have got chilled. We will have to wait until the end of the month before we know if we have lost any but I was pleased to see the birds did go back to their nests and start gathering their eggs up. The hounds were bounding around, causing the birds to panic, flying into the wire on their cages and damaging their noses. It wasn't just the birds, we had between 30 and 40 visitors here at the time and they were horrified. The hounds just appeared out of nowhere."

Among the bids most at risk are Rufus owls, Ural owls, Ferruginous hawks and red-tailed hawks.

Stuart Priest, director of operations for the Batsford Foundation, which runs the Arboretum and Garden Centre, said: "It was an unfortunate accident but the Hunt, which regularly passes through Batsford land, might need to consider steering clear of public areas on the estate like us and the falconry centre. It's very difficult to accommodate the Hunt and the public together."

Hunt joint master Liz Wills said: "We deeply regret this happened. I can only assume that a fox must have crossed the trail the hounds were following and they veered off. We certainly didn't lay a trail through the arboretum. I can understand that the public were alarmed by the dogs but they posed no threat to the public. I have visited Mr Dalton and was pleased that the birds did seem to be settling down."

She said if chicks had died, any compensation would be a private matter between the centre and the Hunt.


Blackmore FH hounds kill fox in village garden, attack pets

21-6-07  Western Gazette    Police launch appeal after hounds enter gardens   Police in Sturminster Newton are appealing for witnesses and information into allegations that hounds chased a fox into the garden of a house and killed it.

Officers are also following up complaints from residents that domestic rabbits and cats were attacked by the hounds after they entered gardens in Bath Road shortly after 4pm last Tuesday. When police arrived they discovered the mutilated body of a fox in a garden.

The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt has confirmed members were hunting in the area that day, on the other side of the River Stour and that some hounds had crossed the river and were out of sight for several minutes.

PC Paul Hollick, who carried out house-to-house inquiries following the incident, said: "Alarmed homeowners have told us a number of hounds chased a fox through several private gardens. Apparently, the hounds cornered the fox against a fence before one resident tried to beat them back, fearing that a pet cat had also been caught. Some residents reported that domestic rabbits and cats were attacked by the hounds and we are making further inquiries about these reports."

PC Hollick said police were keen to hear from anyone with information about the incident. "Fox hunting is an emotive issue and opinions are greatly divided in the community. That is why it is important that I hear from anyone else with any other information that will help my investigation into what happened," he said. "I would like to make it clear that I am carrying out a thorough and diligent investigation into the circumstances of these incidents and if it becomes apparent that any offences have been committed then they will be pursued."

Delly Everard, Wessex regional director for the Countryside Alliance, said: "They were hunting using an artificial scent laid from Cox's Hill, Marnhull. Hounds following the trail, unfortunately, picked up a fox scent and crossed the River Stour. As soon as he was able to safely cross the river, the Huntsman collected the hounds, which were out of his vision for about five minutes, and took them back to the trail. The Blackmore and Sparkford Vale Hunt has carried out over 100 days hunting since the Hunting Act came into force, and there has been no suggestion that we are not acting within the law."

ANYONE with information about the incident can call Dorset Police on 01202 or 01305 222222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


Bicester FH open new kennels at Stratton Audley

14-6-08   Horse & Hound  [no longer online]    New hunt kennels for Bicester with Whaddon Chase   A determination to keep hunting has seen the Oxfordshire-based Bicester Hunt with Whaddon Chase opening new kennels three years after the Hunting Act. More than 600 people gathered at the new complex at Stratton Audley on Friday, 30th May and cheered as Countryside Alliance (CA) president, Baroness Mallalieu QC, opened the new kennels…


Quantock SH Huntsman & Whip convicted of illegal hunting

Court hears deer chased for over an hour, not just 'flushed' 

8-6-07  Daily Telegraph   Two fined for hunting deer with hounds   Two men were found guilty yesterday of illegally hunting deer with hounds in the second case brought against a Hunt since the ban was imposed two years ago. The verdicts against Huntsman Richard Down, 44, and Whipper-in Adrian Pillivant, 36 [both, pic right, credit Press Association], of the Quantock Staghounds in Somerset were hailed as a victory by the League Against Cruel Sports, which brought the private prosecution.

However, the Countryside Alliance, which supported the men, said the outcome had increased confusionQuantockSHHuntsmanWhip7-6-07.jpg over the Hunting Act, which it said was a "bad law that needs to be got rid of." The two men were convicted at Bristol magistrates court after anti-hunt campaigners filmed two hounds chasing a herd of 11 deer across Exmoor.

They said they were flushing out deer for the gun rather than chasing them to exhaustion. However, the League claimed that the deer were chased for more than an hour for sport. Down, of Bagborough, Somerset, and Pillivant, of Willand, Devon, both denied contravening the Hunting Act, which came into force in February, 2005.

Finding them guilty, District Judge David Parsons fined both men £500 and ordered them to pay £1,000 each as a contribution towards costs.

"The defendants were hunting for sport and recreation to continue their way of life and are disingenuous in attempting to deceive me into believing that they were exempt from hunting," he said.

Mike Hobday, of the League Against Cruel Sports, said afterwards he was delighted with the verdicts. "The chasing of wild animals is cruel, immoral and illegal," he said.

The Countryside Alliance said the men would consider appealing against the verdicts. The alliance said the pair had given evidence that they had been flushing deer to concealed guns, as they thought the law allowed.

Simon Hart, the Alliance's chief executive, said: "On the day in question they hunted with two hounds, as stipulated by the Act, and ensured there were experienced guns in place to shoot the deer. They shot six deer. If this is not flushing to guns I do not know what is." He added: "In the end this is one simple solution to the mess which will end all the confusion and waste of police and court resources. The Hunting Act is a bad law and needs to be got rid of."

        QuantockSHHuntsmanhuntingstag2-06Convicted7-6-07.jpg                                       Richard Down, hounds, hunted deer 

7-6-07  BBC News   Pair guilty of hunting with dogs   Two men have been found guilty of illegally hunting deer with hounds Huntsman Richard Down, 44, and whipper-in Adrian Pillivant, 36 of the Quantock Staghounds were convicted at Bristol Magistrates' Court. Anti-hunt campaigners filmed two hounds chasing deer on Exmoor. The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) said the deer were chased for more than an hour. Both men had denied contravening the Hunting Act, which came into force in February 2005.

The LACS said it launched the prosecution because no attempt was made to shoot the deer humanely or call off the hounds during the hunt. Spokesman Douglas Batchelor, said: "Justice has prevailed today (Thursday) in what was a clear-cut case of blatant law-breaking by hunters who believe themselves to be above the law. The hunting fraternity must grasp what the British public have understood ever since the ban was introduced - chasing and slaughtering stags for pleasure is totally unacceptable in a civilised society. To do so is a criminal act as these two gentlemen have discovered today."

Down, 44, of Bagborough, Somerset, and Pillivant, 36, of Willand, Devon had argued throughout the trial that they had been hunting the deer within the law.

District Judge David Parsons said their argument was "disingenuous" and fined both men £500 and ordered them to pay £1,000 each as a contribution towards costs. He said: "Neither defendant has established on the balance of probability that he reasonably believed the hunting was exempt. The defendants were hunting for sport and recreation to continue their way of life and are disingenuous in attempting to deceive me into believing that they were exempt from hunting."

The LACS had played the court video evidence of 20 deer being chased with dogs at a hunt meet at Longstone Hill, Somerset, last February.

Richard Furlong, representing the League, had told the court: "They made no attempt to call the dogs off. The facts of this case are that no reasonable person could have believed this was exempt from the Hunting Act. They made no attempt to control the dogs."

Robbie Marsland, UK director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), welcomed the decision. He said: "This is the second time that the League has taken and won a private prosecution and IFAW congratulates them for that. In the light of this ruling it is very difficult to see how anyone could go out stag hunting in the belief that they are acting lawfully. The Hunting Act is showing its teeth. There have been a number of prosecutions under the Act and more are in the pipeline, including one being taken by Avon and Somerset Police against the Devon and Somerset Staghounds, expected later this summer."

7-6-07     ...The illegal hunting took place when the Quantock Staghounds met at Crowcombe near Taunton on the 16th February 2006. League investigators witnessed and recorded groups of deer being flushed out on three occasions over two and three quarter hours. The Hunt claimed six deer were shot.

District Judge Parsons concluded that the primary purpose of the hunt was “sport and recreation, preserving a way of life that the participants and the defendants are not prepared to give up” and stated that the pair were “disingenuous in attempting to deceive me into believing they were exempt hunting”. The Judge also stated “This was a continual act of hunting over a period of two and three quarter hours….some of the deer found in the first flush were present at the final flush… the dogs may well have been deployed in relay to use fresh dogs to chase the deer faster and harder, to tire them quicker and to compensate for having to hunt with only two dogs”.


MAY 2007

….. 4th May - 4 Essex & Suffolk FH stewards fined for threatening behaviour to sabs 


4 Essex & Suffolk FH stewards fined for threatening behaviour to sabs

4-5-07  N. West Hunt Sabs    Four hunt stewards from the Essex and Suffolk Hunt pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour when they appeared before magistrates at Bury St Edmunds on 4/5/07.

The four were James Applegate of Bourne Hill, Wherstead, Robert Cundy of New Barn Lane, Raydon and Jonathan Mander Old Shields Farm, Asdleigh, Essex, all pleaded guilty and were each fined £200 and £55 prosecution costs. A fourth defendant Alexandra Bowes of Mallard Way, Great Cornard was fined £40 and ordered to pay £60 costs and £15 compensation.


MARCH 2007

….. 12th March - Parish Council complains to Warks FH over village invasion 

…..  5th March - POWA monitors say Old Berks FH killed in banned woodland  


Parish Council complains to Warks FH over village invasion

Havoc and road danger, ponies badly spooked by hounds

12-3-07  Huntwatch    Hunt master apologises to upset villagers    Hunt hounds tore through a village causing havoc and terrorising ponies, according to residents. A letter was sent to the Warwickshire Hunt registering Milcombe Parish council's disapproval and disgust at the behaviour of hunt riders and hounds at a meet in the village last month.

Villagers claimed the hounds were totally out of control, panicking ponies in Low Field which become entangled in fencing, fortunately not electrified at the time. They say the dogs then crossed over the wall into the churchyard and out on to the main road, causing an extremely hazardous situation for drivers and pedestrians.


POWA monitors say Old Berks FH killed in banned woodland

5-3-07  The Herald    Claim that hounds tore animal apart   ANTI-hunt activists have called for police action after clashes at an outing of the Old Berkshire Hunt at Uffington.

Members of the group Protect Our Wild Animals (POWA) monitoring an all-day meeting of the Hunt on Saturday, February 24, claimed the hounds invaded a fenced nature reserve near the village and were filmed "tearing an animal apart". The reserve, Uffington Gorse, is owned by the Woodland Trust, the UK's leading woodland conservation charity, which said it might pursue the illegal invasion of its land.

The POWA supporters said the film was being forwarded to the police. They said a later examination of the wood revealed evidence of "multiple hoofprints" in the mud within Uffington Gorse, which was established in the 1920s. Spokesman Penny Little said: "We were very concerned indeed."

Jessica Leigh-Pemberton, Master of the Old Berks Hunt, insisted that while they had permission from the Woodland Trust to enter Uffington Gorse once during the hunting season, there was no kill of any animal by their hounds. She said there were 70 riders, with another 60 people following by car.

She said: "We had our stewards filming them filming us, but there was no aggressive behaviour and I haven't heard of any heated exchanges and verbal abuse of any sustained nature." She added: "We were trail hunting, and there was no incident within the Gorse."

A spokesman for the Woodland Trust, created in the 1920s to protect areas of native woodland as wildlife habitats, insisted the Hunt did not have permission to go into the Gorse on horseback. They have permission to go on to our land to retrieve stray hounds with a maximum of three people, but this has to be on foot and not on horseback They have to seek permission each season, and the last time this particular Hunt asked for permission was during 1997-8. If there has been a breach of the law, then this would be taken up and investigated further by the police based on the evidence provided by POWA."

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said they had a report of people gathered in the area on Saturday who were opposed to the hunt. Officers "paid passing attention", but were not aware of any criminal activity.



….. 17th February - LACS report reveals illegal hunting and cruel practices by Crawley FH 


LACS report reveals illegal hunting and cruel practices by Crawley FH

Shows JM's assertion they 'trail hunt' as 'blatant, cynical lie'

17-2-07   LACS Press Release [no longer online]   Two years on from the banning of fox hunting secret film obtained by the League Against Cruel Sports reveals the blood lust motivating many hunters. It exposes the lies told by one prominent Hunt in an attempt to cover its barbaric and illegal behaviour.

The Crawley and Horsham Foxhounds claim to have switched to legal trail hunting in which the hounds follow an artificial scent. Joint Master Jamie Hawkfield says that his Hunt does not pursue live foxes. The secret film shows this to be a blatant, cynical lie.

The reality is caught on film in horrifying detail. A fox is pursued by the Crawley and Horsham Hunt over the Sussex Countryside. It seeks refuge in a small hole on the edge of a field. Twenty minutes later – and after a frantic dig out involving three men, spades and two terriers – the fox is dragged to the surface, held aloft and thrown to the waiting hounds. After ten minutes of being savaged by the CrawleyFHHuntsmandangles05-6.jpghounds – encouraged by watching huntsmen – almost nothing remains of the fox.

In another scene foxes are shown having their tails sliced off. It later emerged the tails were to be presented as a wedding present to one of the hunters.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League Against Cruel Sports said:- “I had hoped that with the passing of the Hunting Act I would never have to watch such scenes again. The behaviour shown is barbaric and illustrates how far some hunters are prepared to go in order to fulfil their blood lust”.

The report - Revealed: How cruelty and barbarity returned to the Sussex countryside - Foxes thrown to hounds and tails cut off as 'trophies' during Sussex hunts     The animal stood no chance. Pursued by hounds and riders across the Sussex countryside, it sought refuge in a small fox hole on the edge of a ploughed field. Twenty minutes later – and after a frenetic dig out involving three men, spades and two terriers – the fox is dragged to the surface, held aloft and thrown to the waiting hounds. It is not clear whether the animal is alive when tossed into the air. But after ten minutes of being repeatedly savaged by hounds – encouraged by watching huntsmen – very little of the fox remains.

These shocking scenes were filmed during an undercover investigation into the activities of the Sussex-based Crawley and Horsham Fox Hounds during the autumn and winter of 2006. Secret filming carried out by the League Against Cruel Sports over a five month period has uncovered dramatic footage of scenes that have been described as a return to the “barbaric and cruel hunting practices of past eras” – and produced the most compelling visual evidence to date of a Hunt operating illegally in defiance of the 2005 Hunting Act, which outlaws hunting with dogs.

CrawleyHorshamFHTerrierman05-06.jpgThe revelations will shock and appal the vast majority of the UK population who hate animal cruelty. They will also prove damaging to the hunt lobby which is vigorously campaigning for the pastime to be made legal again, and who claim hunting is concerned with conservation and operates with the highest regard for animal welfare.

The Crawley and Horsham Fox Hounds claim publicly to have switched to trail hunting in the wake of the ban – in a recently filmed interview, Joint Master Jamie Hawksfield told reporters that the Hunt no longer pursues a live quarry, instead dispatching hunt supporters to lay an artificial scent across a pre-determined route. The hounds and riders follow this scent through woodlands and fields as they would traditionally have done with live foxes.

Although exemptions in the Hunting Act allow foxes to be sought out and shot in certain circumstances, Hawksfield denied such activities were carried out by the Crawley and Horsham.


Footage obtained by the League reveals a very different picture however, uncovering how live foxes have been systematically chased and killed by the Crawley and Horsham Fox Hounds during a series of highly secretive and frequently illegal hunts.

In one graphic sequence, the Hunt is secretly filmed as it chases a fox with hounds along a wooded hedge-line, before forcing it to seek refuge underground. After being successfully extracted from its hiding place by the Hunt’s terriermen, the fox is thrown to the hounds and torn apart as hunters look on. For the next ten minutes, hunt staff – including Huntsman Andrew Phyllis – are filmed as they repeatedly taunt the hounds with the fox carcass and congratulate them for their efforts.

In a further incident captured on camera, two foxes are caught by the Hunt within minutes of each other in a narrow strip of woodland – the Huntsman’s distinctive horn blow indicating a successful kill – and the bodies carried into a field where hunt terriermen locate and dig out a cornered fox before throwing it to hounds. Huntsmen encourage the pack to further savage the carcass, staff feed them to hounds. Terriermen are then secretly filmed slicing off the animals tails – fox brushes are traditionally revered as ‘trophies’ to signify a successful day’s sport.

Such disturbing scenes have not been witnessed by outsiders – or caught on camera – for many years and reveal a degree of cruelty and brutality long denied by the hunt lobby.

And – although it is widely acknowledged that some Hunts are continuing to kill foxes despite of the ban – the footage provides the most compelling evidence obtained to date of an individual hunt flouting the law.

One League investigator involved in the filming said: “This is a return to the cruelty and barbarism of the past. Hunters have long denied that these sorts of practices went on, even before the ban. To witness these actions two years after the ban came into force is simply shocking and illustrates just how far these people are prepared to go in order to fulfil their blood lust, even if it means breaking the law.”

Similar brutality is hinted at in further footage obtained by the League showing hunt terriermen as they embark on a three-hour dig out to locate and kill a fox that has sought refuge in an underground badger sett annex. A terrier was sent underground to confront the trapped animal – and nets placed over nearby entrances to prevent it fleeing. Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 it is an offence to dig into or otherwise interfere with a badger sett. Terriermen Angus McKay and Jeremy Chairman denied to investigators that they were digging a badger sett but admitted to pursuing a fox, which is understood to have later been caught and shot.

A previous dig out by the Crawley & Horsham Hunt is illustrated by graphic footage showing a trapped fox as it is brutally extracted from a similar underground refuge. After blocking its escape routes with wood, terriermen locate and finally shoot the animal. Numerous other incidents captured on camera undermine the Hunt’s claim that they now only engage in trail hunting. In one sequence a live fox is pursued by hounds across a domestic garden, only a wire fence enabling the animal’s escape. In another, a fox has been killed in a meadow – huntsmen are – violations of the Hunting Act are regarded as non-recordable, placing them on a par with minor traffic offences – to pro-actively monitoring and vigorously pursuing individuals deemed to have broken the law.

In Sussex, the police have made it clear that dealing with public order issues at hunt events is their priority. The findings of this investigation are expected to prompt a review of policing strategies.

The Crawley and Horsham Fox Hounds are based at West Grinstead in West Sussex and are regarded as one of the south of England’s premier fox hunting packs.

Nicholas Soames MP is counted amongst their high profile supporters. The Hunt has previously been exposed for using artificial earths – man-made underground structures designed to boost the local fox population and ensure a plentiful supply of animals to chase and kill. It has also come under fire for excessive use of force against anti-hunt campaigners with a pattern of attacks, injuries and threats against activists. The Hunt continues to employ stewards to keep members of the public and anti hunt campaigners away.

Pics above   -  Left, terrierman places dug out and shot fox into a sack    Right,  Huntsman dangles fox corpse for hounds to rag  



….. 30th January - N. Shropshire FH fined for polluting river eight times


N. Shropshire FH fined for polluting river eight times

30-1-07   North West Hunt Sabs Assoc     On 30/1/07 the North Shropshire Hunt pleaded guilty at Market Drayton magistrates to four charges relating to breaching a discharge consent to the River Roden. They were fined a total of £3,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,181.10. The court also took four similar offences into consideration.


Otis Ferry not banned from driving despite huge blood alcohol level

20-1-07   Western Daily Press  [no longer online]  £500 fine but no ban for Otis in drink-drive case    High-profile hunt campaigner Otis Ferry [right] has avoided a driving ban despite drinking at least seven shots of vodka during a night out. 

The 24-year-old son of rock star Bryan Ferry was pulled over in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, after OtisFerry.jpgleaving The Rock nightclub in the town on October 11, 2005. Ferry who lives in Eaton, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was found to have 55mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg per 100ml of breath.

But during a special reasons hearing, Gloucester Magistrates' Court was told that Ferry's friends had bought him treble vodka Red Bull drinks, but he believed he was drinking single shots. Ferry escaped a driving ban, but was fined £500 and ordered to pay £364 costs.

Wearing bright pink trainers and a pin-striped suit, Ferry said after the hearing: "I don't think I've got away with it. I've got to pay a huge fine.'' But the decision not to ban him provoked fury last night from campaign group RoadPeace.

Spokeswoman Diane Johnson said she felt Ferry had been treated leniently because of his father's fame, adding: "He knew what he was doing. He should never have got into the driving seat even if he thought he had just been drinking single shots. Drink-driving on any amount is a no-no."

Angie Alcock's husband, Andy, was killed when Eric Sorensen, 48, who was three times the drink-drive limit, lost control and smashed into his victim's VW Bento. Speaking at her home in Bradford on Avon, she said: "This is not a good example for other young drivers."

Ferry initially denied being over the drink-drive limit despite failing a breath test. But he changed his plea to guilty halfway through his trial at Stroud Magistrates' Court last year. The court heard Ferry had been persuaded to spend the evening at the nightclub with friends instead of driving home to Shropshire. He said he had only intended to have "one small drink" but friends from Cirencester Agricultural College persuaded him to spend the night in the club. He said: "They weren't taking no for an answer. They were having none of it when I tried to shirk out of getting involved."

Ferry was stopped by police while driving a short distance back to a friend's home after the club closed. Officers pulled him over after noticing he was driving at only 20mph.


OCTOBER 2006  

….. 23rd October - Devon & Somerset SH rider gets susp. sentence for beating up monitor


Devon & Somerset SH rider gets susp. sentence for beating up monitor

23-10-06  BBC News    Farmer sentenced for hunt attack    A man who attacked a hunt monitor whoDSSHChristopherM23-10-06.jpg was filming a hunt has been given a suspended jail sentence. Livestock farmer Christopher Marles [right], 45, was convicted of actual bodily harm at Exeter Crown Court. He punched Kevin Hill from Dorset, a monitor with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, at a Devon & Somerset Staghounds hunt on Exmoor.

Marles, of Farringdon, was ordered to pay £2,500 compensation and jailed for nine months, suspended for two years. The trial heard that Mr Hill, from Beaminster, Dorset, suffered a cut face and black eye as result of the attack. Sixteen-stone Marles had denied DSSHMonitor23-10-06.jpgcarrying out the attack on 27 October 2005.

Mr Hill was filming the hunt to ensure it was complying with the law against hunting with hounds which was introduced in February 2005. The jury saw 17 minutes of video footage, which showed Marles confronting Mr Hill and then someone trying to take the camera from him, although at this stage the lens was pointing to the road and did not show the attacker. Tom Yandle, chairman of the Devon & Somerset Staghounds, said after the trial that the hunt did not condone any violence against hunt monitors. He added that Marles was not a member of the Hunt.

After the sentencing, victim Kevin Hill said: "The sentence, in all, was sufficiently harsh to send a warning out to anybody else that this sort of behaviour is just not acceptable."



….. 28th September - High Peak Harriers kill pet cat as ride through village


High Peak Harriers kill pet cat as ride through village

Hunt vows not to exercise them in villages any more 

28-9-06  Derbyshire Times [no longer online]   Derbyshire hunt kills pet cat    Hunt leaders have vowed to stop exercising their hounds in Peak villages after a family’s cat was savaged and killed by their pack of dogs.

Members of the High Peak Hunt had been riding through Sheldon near Bakewell when the pack of around 40 hounds attacked the animal after spotting it by the side of the road.

Bob Graham, joint master of the Hunt, said some of the younger hounds ran to the cat before the other dogs followed – eventually killing the pet – during the early morning ride through the village.

He said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened that something like this has happened – it is not something I have seen before in all my years with the Hunt. Normally a cat will run away as soon as it sees or hears us coming, but this one stayed sat at the side of the road. Unfortunately some of the younger hounds, who are more difficult to control, got to the animal and the rest of the pack followed.”

Group leaders have now promised not to ride through Sheldon and other villages nearby, following calls from concerned residents – including the family who owned the cat – in the wake of the incident on September 8.

Mr Graham added: “The day it happened I met with the family and told them how deeply sorry we are that this has happened. This is the only village we tend to ride through, and we have done so for years, but we have been asked not to exercise our hounds in the village any longer and we have agreed to this.”

Hunting with hounds was banned by new laws which came into force in February 2005, but packs are still exercised to get fit for ‘trials’ which test the animals’ ability.



….. 23rd August - Owner slams Tiverton SH for 'hush money' offer after hounds kill pet dog


Owner slams Tiverton SH for 'hush money' offer after hounds killed pet dog

23-8-06  Daily Telegraph   'Hush money' offer after staghounds kill terrier A dog owner has criticised a stag hunt for trying to buy her silence after her terrier was ripped apart by two of its hounds outside her home.

Catherine Hodgson, a magistrate who is chairman of the North Devon bench, tried to beat the hounds and used her body as a human shield in a vain attempt to protect her pet, Pippa. But the 14-year-old Jack Russell border cross was left "horribly wounded" and had to be put down, she said.

Tiverton Staghounds offered her £1,000 in compensation for "shock and trauma" on condition she remained silent. Later, however, the Hunt withdrew the confidentiality clause when Mrs Hodgson of East Worlington, Devon, pointed out that she had a duty to inform police.

She said: "When we got the Hunt's letter offering hush money it made me so angry. I want everyone to know what happened."

The Hunt's solicitors offered the compensation and promised to pay vet bills plus the cost of a new dog. They sought confidentiality but, when the Hodgsons refused, the firm agreed this would be "inappropriate". The couple have now accepted the compensation.

The joint master of Tiverton Staghounds, John Lucas, said both hounds involved had been destroyed. "I have apologised profusely to the couple concerned," he said.


Exmoor FH Huntsman convicted of illegally hunting fox

4-8-06   BBC News   Huntsman guilty of breaking ban   A Somerset man has become the first person convicted for breaking the ban on fox hunting with hounds Tony Wright, 52, denied breaching the Hunting Act, when he led the Exmoor Foxhounds on 29 April last year. But he was fined £500 at Barnstaple Magistrates' Court in a case brought by the League Against Cruel Sports. He was the first fox huntsman to be summoned to court for defying the law which came into force last year in England and Wales.

Wright, of Exmoor Kennels, Simonsbath in Somerset, said he would appeal and called the Hunting Act a "stupid and pointless law". He said he had been trying to comply with the law "as I understood it". He said: "I might have been found guilty, but I certainly don't feel like a criminal. If people were confused by the Hunting Act before today, they will be a lot more confused now." He added: "I was doing my best to follow the rules as they are written down. I had no idea I was doing anything illegal."

The League told the court during a week-long hearing that Wright broke the hunting ban by signalling the Exmoor Foxhounds to pursue two foxes at Drybridge in Devon. Exercising hounds, chasing a scent trail and flushing out foxes to be shot is still legal.

But the League alleged the Hunt on 29 April went further than that by allowing hounds a "prolonged period of pursuit" of a fox on two occasions.

Prosecutor Richard Furlong said it did "violence to common sense" to argue that Wright and his followers were engaged in a shooting exercise. And he accused Wright of "a cynical attempt to pay lip service to the legislation". Wright said he had stopped the hounds.

District Judge Paul Palmer told Wright: "I understand the difficulty that everyone has with the Act coming into force." Judge Palmer was shown video evidence by the prosecution. He said: "What I saw was not exempt hunting."

The League brought the case at a total cost of more than £100,000 after Avon and Somerset Police declined to take on the case based on the evidence available. The force pledged after the case to change its view on future prosecutions. It said in a statement: "The findings of the court have demonstrated a benchmark for what does constitute a breach of the Hunting Act. Avon and Somerset and other forces across the country can now learn from this for future standards of prosecution."

League spokesman Mike Hobday said: "The case has shown we were right, but we would give the police full credit for accepting so quickly that they can learn from this." 

The judge awarded the League £250 towards its costs, but Mr Hobday said the League was not bitter about the expense. He said: "It was very expensive, but very worthwhile. It was a demonstration to everyone that the Hunting Act is well written, clear legislation." He said the League had been "very comfortable" in taking the private prosecution. "We were clear in our minds that the chasing of the foxes that we saw on video was against the law. The message to hunts now is that chasing foxes is against the law and if hunts do it they will be brought to justice. The League will be working with police forces up and down the country so that where hunts do engage in this sort of cruelty they will be prosecuted."

4-08-06  Independent    Man found guilty of illegal fox hunting    A huntsman was convicted today of illegally hunting foxes. Exmoor Foxhounds huntsman Tony Wright, 52, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 costs by District Judge Paul Palmer after a week-long hearing at Barnstaple Magistrates' Court, in Devon. Wright, of Exmoor Kennels, Simonsbath, pleaded not guilty to the charge of hunting a fox on 29 April last year contrary to the Hunting Act 2004.

The private prosecution by the League Against Cruel Sports was the first in England against a fox or stag hunt under the Act.

The judge told Wright: "I understand the difficulty that everyone has with the act coming into force." He added: "What I saw was not exempt hunting." Giving the reasons for his finding, the judge said he was of the view that Wright was hunting with two dogs.

Simon Hart, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: "No right minded person thinks that Tony Wright should have been branded a criminal. If people were confused about the Hunting Act before today they will be a lot more confused now. We believe that he was trying to comply with the law as he understood it and will be supporting his appeal. This is a piece of legislation which took seven years and 700 hours of parliamentary time to get onto the statute book yet still it is illogical and unclear. Any law which can put a man like Tony Wright through nine months of court action and tell him he is a criminal for doing something he believed was entirely legal clearly isn't working."

The prosecution followed video evidence gathered by the League which was shown to the court. The Foxhounds claimed they were operating under "exempt hunting" provisions in the act which stipulated each of the two hounds should be kept under sufficiently close control for the fox to be shot as soon as possible after flushing.

The judge said the videos showed the hounds following the line of the fox at speed without immediately being called off. There was a "substantial period" of chase for each of the two foxes seen on the videos. Long after the foxes were flushed they were being followed by the hounds, which was hunting in the judge's view. There was only one marksman, who was not going to be in the position to shoot the animal as soon as possible. The judge said no reasonable steps were taken to shoot the fox as soon as possible and the dogs were not under close control as required by the hunting exemption.

During the case the League claimed the Foxhounds acted with "wilful disregard" of the Act, and what they did bore all the hallmarks of traditional hunting.

Mr Wright, who believed he had complied with the act told the court that five foxes were flushed that day, one of which was shot, the others got away. The Countryside Alliance said Wright would launch an appeal against his conviction.

4-8-06   Wright... claimed that he had been hunting under the ‘Stalking and flushing out’ exemption. The Judge said “I understand the difficulty everyone has with the Act coming into force…What I saw was not exempt hunting”. Wright had argued that his two dogs remained under his close control during the hunt and a marksman was ready to shoot fleeing foxes as soon as possible after being flushed, conditions required under the exemption.

However, the prosecution had successfully argued that Wright, who had been a hunt professional all his adult life, had been leading a traditional hunt and pursuing foxes rather than flushing them from cover. Wright told the court the hunt had flushed out five foxes one of which was shot.

Judge Palmer said the video evidence showed the hounds following the line of a fox at speed without immediately being called off and there was a substantial period of chase for each of the two foxes seen in the footage. Long after the foxes had been flushed they were being pursued by the hounds, which in the Judge’s view was hunting. He said no reasonable steps were taken to shoot the foxes as soon as possible and the dogs were not under close control as required by the legislation.


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