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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 16:27 GMT
Probe held into village fox death
The killing of a fox by a pack of huntsmen's hounds, which a woman claims ran amok in a village's gardens, is being investigated by police.

Residents in Bradford Peverell, Dorset, saw hounds from the Cattistock Hunt run wild for 20 minutes on Thursday before a huntsman arrived to take control.

A police spokesman said inquiries into whether the hunt did all it could to call off the hounds were taking place.

The Countryside Alliance said the hunt was "acting entirely within the law".

Villager Deborah Carrington said she was horrified as 20 hounds chased her terrified ginger cat Leo down the street.

We want to be sure they did everything they could to recall the hounds
Ch Insp Nick Maton
She said: "The hounds were everywhere, all over my garden and my neighbour's garden. It was just bedlam."

Builders working on her home helped her chase away the pack before they killed the fox in a neighbour's garden.

The hounds were thought to have got the scent of the fox while an artificial scent trail was being laid.

Ch Insp Nick Maton, Dorset Police's hunt liaison officer, said: "If during the course of the hunt the hounds leave the artificial scent and start hunting the scent of a wild mammal that doesn't mean they are committing an offence under the Hunting Act.

"However, what we are interested in is the actions of the huntsmen as soon as they became aware that the hounds weren't following the artificial scent and were hunting a wild mammal.

"We want to be sure they did everything they could to recall the hounds."

Delly Everard, Wessex regional director for the Countryside Alliance, said: "It's unfortunate that people were upset by this, but at the end of the day it also goes to prove that you cannot always tell a dog what to do.

"The majority of the time a huntsman is in control of his hounds but sadly these things do happen."




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