Persuaded by evidence furnished to the court by investigators from the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), an English judge found three men from one of that country’s foremost hunts guilty of illegally hunting the fox. Joint-Master Timothy Windham Basil Smalley, MFH; huntsman Ian McKie; and kennel huntsman Andrew Proe of the College Valley North Northumberland Foxhounds were convicted in Berwick Magistrate’s Court.
LACS cameramen secretly filmed a meet on February 27 of this year. The videos showed foxes bolting from covert, and it appeared that hounds were in the chase. The defendants argued that hounds were following a drag scent and that hounds came across the fox and switched to the live hunt. McKie tried to explain to the court that it takes some time to stop a pack, but the judge was not persuaded. In other evidence put forth by the plaintiffs, the allegation was made that Smalley lifted his cap and pointed in the direction of the fox and that staff encouraged hounds with horn and voice.
The conviction was a disappointment to the pro-hunting community. Outside the court, huntsman McKie said that hounds were stopped successfully, and the fox was not killed. Another judge, he felt, could have come to a different conclusion. As yet, no decision on an appeal has been announced.
Foxhunting Life reported on August 2 that a spokesman for the Countryside Alliance expressed confidence that the men would be exonerated, as was the only other defendant—Percy huntsman Robert McCarthy—to be charged under the Hunting Act in that jurisdiction back in 2009.
Click to read the complete article in The Telegraph.
Posted October 15, 2014