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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 February, 2005, 13:56 GMT
First hunts gather following ban
A hunt
The ban on hunting with dogs came into force on Friday
Hunts were meeting across Kent, Sussex and Surrey on Saturday for the first time since the ban on hunting with dogs became law.

On Friday, hunting with dogs became illegal with those ignoring the ban facing a risk of being fined.

In Kent, four hunts were taking place and in Sussex a further three were scheduled to meet.

Graham Worsely, from the Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt, said they were planning to lay a scent.

We will not deliberately go out to break the law
Graham Worsely, Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent Hunt

Hunters are still allowed to exercise their dogs and they can also lay a scent for drag hunting.

Another option is using the dogs to flush out a fox as long as it is shot and not killed by the hounds.

Before the hunt, Mr Worsely said: "We will be trying to lay a scent line.

"We have 400 years of breeding which we are being asked to switch off overnight and we do not know what is going to happen.

"We certainly won't be shooting because of the numbers of people we are expecting - several thousand.

"We will not deliberately go out to break the law but we will test it to try to find out the ambiguities as far as we can."

Anyone found guilty of hunting with dogs in England and Wales faces a fine of up to 5,500.

  • A special programme by South East Today has filmed with hunts and anti-hunt campaigners, put cameras on a rider, and filmed from helicopters over the Kent and Sussex border.

    There will be live reaction from guests in the studio for the South East Today Hunting Special on Sunday at 2310 GMT on BBC One.

    Final legal hunts to take place
    17 Feb 05 |  Southern Counties
    Hunt supporters vow to fight ban
    16 Feb 05 |  Politics
    High Court upholds ban on hunting
    28 Jan 05 |  Politics

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