Woman's fury at chased fox

PUBLISHED: 14:27 22 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:12 31 May 2010

A WOMAN has spoken of her terror after she saw a hunt chasing a fox between Duddenhoe End and Langley Upper Green last Wednesday afternoon. The Puckeridge Hunt has admitted it killed a fox, but claims it was an accident after hounds followed the scent of

A WOMAN has spoken of her terror after she saw a hunt chasing a fox between Duddenhoe End and Langley Upper Green last Wednesday afternoon.

The Puckeridge Hunt has admitted it killed a fox, but claims it was an accident after hounds followed the scent of the animal when on a trail hunt.

The lady, who did not wish to be named, was in her car with her husband when she witnessed the scene.

"It was just after 3pm when we went up there for a walk because my husband's been ill and the weather had changed," she said.

"In the middle of the road was a 4x4 and some quad bikes and men standing there all cheering, and then the huntsman on his horse came over the hedge.

"The fox ran through a hedge just in front of us and was chased into a farmyard."

She said the huntsman stopped in the middle of the road to prevent traffic passing.

"It was awful to think that the hunt was so close in front of us - it was just horrendous," she said.

"My husband wound down the window of the car and said 'What the bloody hell are you doing? Fox hunting is banned.'

"The huntsman's reply was 'Oh my God.' I think he was very shocked by it."

Joint master of the Puckeridge Hunt, Tim Vestey, said there was one huntsman with the hounds who was trying to prevent them from chasing the fox and the followers believed they were still on the trail of the scent.

"Whatever we may think of the hunting laws, we are law-abiding citizens and we very much endeavour to comply with its stipulations," he said.

"Unfortunately, a fox came out and the hounds went away from the trail and onto the line of the fox, as does happen from time to time.

"The fox was caught by the hounds and killed. It was an accident."

Fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing with dogs is banned in England and Wales. Trail hunting involves hounds chasing a scent on a soaked rag carried by someone running ahead of the hunt.

Under the ban, dogs can still be used to follow a scent but cannot be used to kill a fox.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "We are looking into this matter to see if any illegal activity took place."

The Puckeridge Hunt dates back to 1725 and covers many areas across Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

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