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Middleton Place Hounds


Charleston, SC

Website: www.middletonplacehounds.com

Book Review by Martha A. Woodham

the owl and the earlThe Owl and the Earl, Paul Smith, Silverwood Books, 2014, Paperback, 198 pages, $14.95As the newest Master of the Blankshire Hunt, our hero of The Owl and the Earl, Hector Griffiths, inadvertently steps into what is known as a “sticky wicket” when he is tapped to raise funds to build a new stable for the hunt.

Threatening to sabotage the fund raising is a rivalry between old money and new. The family of Lord Blankshire, the Hon. Alexander Bichester, came over with the Normans. By comparison, the fifth Earl of Melsham, aka “Sid,” is practically nouveau riche. Sid, known locally—but only behind his back—as “the belted earl,” likes to stick it to Alex every chance he gets, leaving poor Alex, a gentle soul, flummoxed, frustrated, and a bit peeved.

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Four members of the Middleton Hunt (UK) pled guilty to charges under the Hunting Act. Video footage taken by the League Against Cruel Sports was shown to the Magistrate’s Court showing the men bolting a fox from a pile of round bales. The fox was immediately run down by hounds and killed.

Although admittedly an unsporting way to kill a fox, if the fox had been shot and killed upon being bolted from the round bales, no offence would have occurred. If the fox had been shot but only wounded while making its escape, only to die after suffering its wounds for a day or more, no offence would have occurred. Such are the terms of the Hunting Act under which foxhunters in the UK must abide.

The four men were fined by the court. Click to read Dan Bean’s complete article in The Press.

Posted August 18, 2013

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