A Cumbrian huntsman who flushed a fox from its den and beat it to death with a stick has today been found guilty of illegal hunting with a dog.
Witnesses told Penrith Magistrates Court that Alistair Robinson, 48, of Bampton Grange, near Shap, held the fox by its tail and struck it eight times.
Robinson had denied using dogs to hunt a fox but the case was proved by Judge Gerald Chalk. He was fined £250, ordered to pay £900 costs and a £15 surcharge.
League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) members Ed Shephard and Paul Tillsey showed the court film footage of Robinson’s actions as an Ullswater Foxhounds ‘drag’ hunt passed Hartsop on October 26 last year. The film showed the defendant take a fox from the ground where his two terriers had been running in tunnels.
The hunt was intended to be a legal ‘drag’, where dogs follow a scent planted by members. Robinson was filmed putting his black terrier into a hole in the area where a fox had been spotted.
Oliver King, prosecuting, said Robinson was seen by LACS members digging with a stick in the area where the fox had run underground, after the hunt moved on.
Robinson later admitted, in interview, he had killed the animal and buried its carcass in a dry stone wall, where LACS members later retrieved it. He claimed he did not intend to use dogs to kill the animal.
A post-mortem examination on the vixen was carried out by Stephen Harris at Bristol University. The examination revealed it had been attacked for ‘a prolonged period’ by dogs and received extensive injuries. The court heard that there were bite wounds to the fox’s face and it had a partially crushed skull.
Stephen Welford, defending, said Robinson had only sent his terrier underground to help track and bring out a four-year-old dog that had accidentally escaped its lead and run in.
When interviewed by Cumbria police, after his arrest on January 11, Mr Robinson said: “The fox was in a bit of a state, so I gave it a couple of knocks to finish it off. It wouldn’t have survived.”