Police have launched an investigation into the conduct of the Belvoir Hunt after three foxes were killed by hounds.
Crime commissioner Lord Willy Bach was observing the policing of the event and said he was shocked to see the bodies of the animals “ripped to bits by hounds”.
The event, on Saturday, was also being monitored by hunt saboteurs who took pictures of the savaged foxes.
Under the Hunting Act of 2004 it is illegal to hunt mammals with dogs.
Repeated attempts by the Mercury to contact the hunt to get their side of what happened had failed to get a response by the time the newspaper went to press.
But the Countryside Alliance, which supports field sports, said: “The hunt has launched an urgent investigation to establish exactly what happened on Saturday.
“At this stage they are very busy investigating and they cannot comment further.”
The hunt saboteurs claim that two killings were carried out by hounds in the grounds of a nursing home.
They managed to rescue a badly injured third which died in the arms of one of the saboteurs.
Lord Bach said: “I attended the Belvoir Hunt on Saturday with the police as part of my determination to learn more about rural issues.
“The police in my view performed a difficult task with great skill and professionalism.
“I was shocked by seeing the bodies of three dead foxes, ripped to bits by hounds.
“I fully support a police inquiry into the events leading to this outcome, when the Hunting Act 2004 makes it clear that the intentional killing of mammals is illegal.
“I am determined as Police and Crime Commissioner that the law, as decided by Parliament, will be upheld in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”
The saboteurs claimed hounds chased and illegally killed three foxes.
Lee Moon, a spokesman for the Hunt Saboteurs Association, said that when saboteurs reached a farmyard near Scalford Hall, hounds were tearing into a fox they had cornered in the yard.
He said the saboteurs intervened and were able to recover the still-conscious fox.
But he added: “The fox was unable to be saved due to extensive wounds, and died in the sab’s arms.”
All three foxes have been taken as evidence by Leicestershire Police.
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “We are investigating following a report of the death of three foxes in the Scalford area of Melton on Saturday.
“Inquiries are in their early stages.
“If anyone has information which may assist the investigation they are asked to contact Leicestershire police on 101.”
Source : Leicester Mercury