'Hunt should not be taking hounds out if they have no control' says saboteurs group
Warwickshire Hunt has been told it needs greater control of its hounds after its pack ran amok through gardens in Horley last Wednesday.
West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs sent the Banbury Guardian video coverage of hounds streaming through gardens. Warning: contains bad language.
They accused hunt staff and supporters of harassing and abusing the saboteurs, who attempt to provide evidence of what they believe is illegal fox hunting throughout the region.
Warwickshire Hunt has always maintained it organises and rides 'trail hunts' where hounds and the horses and riders follow a previously laid scent trail and that its activities are legal.
Hunting mammals with dogs was banned under the Hunting Act in 2004.
Last week the huntsmen and women lost control of the hounds who appeared to be following the scent of a fox through Horley village centre.
A spokesman for the West Midlands Hunt Saboteurs said: "It seems that wherever the Warwickshire Hunt go they seem to cause complete chaos they are constantly upsetting and distressing the local residents.
"This is not the first time the Warwickshire Hunt hounds have rampaged through locals' front and back gardens and unfortunately it’s unlikely to be the last.
"You would have to seriously question why if they are doing nothing wrong that their hounds always seem to end up all over the place.
"If the Warwickshire Hunt put as much time and effort in to controlling their hounds as they do to harassing and abusing saboteurs then these incidents may not happen. As it stands however the Warwickshire Hunt shouldn’t be taking their hounds out into the countryside as they clearly have no control over them."
Laura Lepeltier, for the Warwickshire Hunt, said: "It is proving increasingly difficult for us to direct the hounds with the obstacles that are continuously put in our way.
"The saboteurs are consistently trying to lure the hounds off track and distract them, with the best will in the world and the best trained animals it is difficult to keep them focused when they are troubled and confused. It is every pet owners' nightmare.
"We have been to Horley and personally spoken to as many of the people affected as possible. All the people we have seen have been very kind when they understand the situation more fully. We are fortunate to have such common-sense, country people living in our rural community.
"We will continue to hunt within the law and are putting many protocols in place to try and ensure that our hounds are safe guarded and that our local communities continue to appreciate and support us," she said.
"To that end we would welcome people from the Banbury area to join us at Upton for our Boxing Day meet at 10.45am. It would be lovely to see a big turnout so we can thank everyone for their backing throughout the year."
In late November the hunt caused a stir in Avon Dassett when hounds got into a field of rheas, causing one of the emu-like birds to escape onto a main road. Footage of the bird, filmed by the sabateurs, featured in several daily newspapers as well as the Banbury Guardian.