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Monday, 5 February, 2001, 19:56 GMT
Arrest over stolen hunt beagles
beagles
Sexton, a dog similar to these, was found by police in Bristol
A man has been arrested in connection with the theft of 47 beagles from kennels near Ashford in Kent last month.

One of the dogs, named Sexton, has also been retrieved and returned to members of the Wye Beagles Hunt.

A spokesman for Kent Police said the dog was discovered in Bristol last week by investigators.

Will Denne
Will Denne: Pleased to get Sexton back
The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed responsibility for the theft at the time, saying it was forced to take action because the government had failed to ban hunting with dogs.

The police said Sexton had been castrated and an attempt had been made to remove the identifying tattoo on his ear.

Hunt secretary Will Denne said: "We are very pleased to get Sexton back, he was one of our prized hounds and for our jubilee year in 1997 he was used as the model for a bronze sculpture."

Reward

He added that Sexton's return has given hunt members a faint hope of finding the other dogs but said they still fear some may have been killed.

The hunt has offered a 5,000 reward through the police to get all their beagles back and catch those responsible.

ALF member with stolen dogs
The ALF has admitted stealing the dogs
After the dogs were taken, the ALF said they had been placed in loving homes.

In a written statement, the group said the theft was a deliberate attempt to stop hunts in the region, and warned it would be part of an ongoing direct action campaign against hunting.

Countryside groups condemned the theft as heartless and the Wye Beagles Hunt said the theft had wiped out 53 years of breeding at the kennels.

It has continued its normal Wednesday and Saturday meetings since the thefts by borrowing hounds from other hunts in the South East.

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See also:

05 Jan 01 | UK
Activists steal beagle pack
26 Dec 00 | UK
Fox hunters out in force
21 Dec 00 | UK Politics
Hunting Bill clears Commons hurdle
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