Police investigate after dog killed in attack on hunt kennels
Police are investigating a ‘disturbing’ attack on a hunt kennels in which a dog was apparently ‘beaten to death’ and left on the hunt master’s drive and vehicles vandalised.
Detectives are understood to be taking the incident ‘very seriously’, because it happened at the base of the Ross Harriers hunt on the Herefordshire-Gloucestershire border, and is close to one of the two areas designated for this year’s controversial badger cull - the other is in West Somerset.
Officers said they were called to an address at which the Ross Harriers are based in Coughton, a small hamlet between Ross-on-Wye and the Gloucestershire border in the Forest of Dean, earlier this week to reports of an attack from animal rights activists.
A spokesman for West Mercia police said the reports were that a 4x4-type vehicle had been vandalised some time between last Friday and Monday.
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“It is also believed that a dog belonging to the victim, which was on the property at the time, was killed during the incident,” said the police spokesman.
“However, it has not yet been established exactly how the animal died and officers are awaiting a report from a vet. Inquiries are ongoing at this time.”
The harriers’ hunt master, who lives near the kennels’ is David Peters.
He said it was his vehicle and pet dog attacked.
“I don’t want to say too much about it, because obviously there’s a police investigation going on,” he said. “But there was a dog killed and it was left on my driveway, and it obviously did not die of natural causes.
“I’ve got a young family, and this is particularly worrying.”
Last November, Mr Peters was fined £720 by magistrates in Hereford and ordered to pay £200 compensation to a hunt saboteur he was found guilty of racially abusing during a confrontation at a meet at Aston Crew last January.
A source close to the Ross Harriers hunt, who declined to be named, said while they were still waiting for the vet’s report into the cause of death of the dog, which was not believed to be one of the Harriers’ hounds, it appeared the dog had been beaten to death.
“This was not a very pleasant incident at all; the letters ‘ALF’ were scratched into the vehicles there and the dog was dead on the drive,” he said. The Animal Liberation Front is a hardcore shadowy group of animal rights activists who target everything from animal-testing laboratories to factory farms.
“The police are taking it extremely seriously, obviously because it is serious anyway, but also because these are the same sorts of people threatening all sorts with the badger cull in this area. The police are looking seriously at the activities of the animal rights activists, and a lot of people are worried,” he added.
A spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, which regularly targets hunts in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, said his organisation and his activists had ‘nothing whatsoever’ to do with the action.
“We simply do not engage in or condone criminal damage or any attacks on animals,” he said.
“We engage in legal disruption of illegal hunting and we had nothing to do with this whatsoever.
“It doesn’t sound like the sort of thing the ALF would do either, killing a dog. They have been known to steal an entire pack of hounds, but they wouldn’t harm one.”