Hunstman fined over £1,000 for fox hunting
A huntsman has been found guilty of hunting a fox with dogs and fined over £1,000.
The Huntsman of the Seavington Hunt admitted an offence of hunting a fox with dogs, when he appeared at Yeovil Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
David Parker, 39, of Seavington St Mary, Ilminster pleaded guilty to the Hunting Act offence which took place in the area around Causeway Lane, Winsham in Dorset in January 2013.
He was ordered to pay a fine of £500, a £50 victim surcharge and £500 costs.
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District Judge, Lynne Matthews, dismissed the defence’s plea for a conditional discharge and made the point that Parker had admitted the offence of fox hunting by his own guilty plea.
The court heard that two wildlife crime investigators from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) were filming the Hunt on the Dorset/Somerset border when they saw a fox bolt from where hounds were searching scrub area.
Parker then blew the horn and engaged the hounds in pursuing the fox.
The hounds were not called off and the pursuit ended at an earth where the fox apparently managed to escape.
The footage shows the fox fleeing across the field, with the hounds following shortly after.
The IFAW investigators presented the footage to the RSPCA and the decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors as there was sufficient and clear evidence to satisfy the evidential and public interest test in the Code.
RSPCA inspector Jo Daniel said: “The footage, provided by IFAW, clearly shows the members of the hunting party searching the area, along with the hounds, before the fox fled and the huntsman pursued it.
“We cannot stand by whilst laws which are there to protect wild animals are broken and if sufficient evidence is provided to us we have an obligation to act to prevent further such offences from occurring.”
Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Hunting a fox with hounds is a cruel and illegal activity and IFAW’s monitors will remain vigilant to ensure anyone committing such offences is brought before the court."