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Last Updated: Monday, 30 July 2007, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Man fined in Hunting Act 'first'
A 69-year-old has been fined 200 after what is believed to be the first case in Wales under the Hunting Act 2004.

William Francis Armstrong from near St Asaph, Denbighshire, admitted hunting a wild animal with a dog after he was seen putting a terrier into a hole.

The terrier man, who was not at the hearing at Prestatyn Magistrates' Court, was ordered to pay 60 costs.

Another case against a man for permitting land to be used for hunting was dropped by the prosecution.

The charge was brought against Armstrong after he was spotted by an off-duty police officer on the Clwydian Hills above Llangwyfan, Denbighshire on 2 January.

Fox hole

Gareth Preston, prosecuting, said the sergeant had been out walking and noticed sheep running ahead of the Flint and Denbigh Hunt.

From a distance, he watched the hunt close in on a fox hole and saw Armstrong, the terrier man, bring a terrier dog to the hole and send it down the hole.

Armstrong was then seen using a spade to dig down after the dog towards the fox, the court heard.

When later questioned by police, Armstrong had said he was a terrier man for the Flint and Denbigh hunt and admitted he had sent a dog in.

He had also described how when the fox did come out of the hole, he shot it with a pistol.

Whatever political or moral views people have on fox hunting, the one aspect universally supported is that the fox need not suffer more trauma than necessary
Gwyn Jones, defending

The 2004 act allows a fox to be humanely destroyed under specific circumstances but Armstrong had not carried out certain checks it requires.

He had not ensured there was another hole from which the fox could be flushed out. This is to avoid the dog cornering the fox underground.

Armstrong also failed to give the fox a chance to escape before he shot it and should have used a shotgun instead of the .22 pistol.

Gwyn Jones, defending, said Armstrong had been involved with terriers since he was 12 and had not intended to cause the fox any distress.

He added: "Whatever political or moral views people have on fox hunting, the one aspect universally supported is that the fox need not suffer more trauma than necessary."

District Judge Andrew Shaw, however, reminded the court that fox hunting with dogs is illegal.

The court also heard that the clerk could only find details of two other prosecutions in Britain brought under the ban in Scotland and Chester.

Both had been more serious cases, as a terrier had been used to kill the fox.

A case against landowner Peter Rowley Williams, 48, of Llangwyfan, for permitting land to be used for hunting on the same day, was dropped by the prosecution.

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