Ten hounds died after an horrific collision involving the pack of hunting dogs and a car on a country road.
The car was being driven along Whissendine Road, Ashwell, near Oakham, where two employees of the Cottesmore Hunt were out on bicycles exercising a group of hounds.
In the crash on Monday morning one of the employees – a young man – was knocked off his bike and suffered severe bruising.
Five dogs were killed outright and a further five were put down by a vet.
Andrew Osborne, spokesman for the hunt, said: “It’s obviously a very unfortunate accident.
“Two of our employees were on bicycles with the hounds and one of them was the first to be hit by the car.
“He suffered a lot of bruising but fortunately nothing more permanent than that.
“The vehicle then hit several of our hounds, with unfortunate results.”
The North Cambs Hunt Saboteurs, which works to disrupt the activities of hunts across the region, said the hunt was irresponsible for allowing dogs on the road.
A spokesman said: “There are laws to protect motorists from domestic animals on our highways.
“A driver would not expect a large pack of dogs to be in the road at any time – and they should never be in the road in our opinion – especially if they are still being trained.
“There have been a number of hounds killed on the roads over the years.
“We will be watching your hunts very carefully next season.
“If, as hunts claim, they are following trails and hunting within the law, there will be no need for hounds to be on the road during any hunt.”
However, Mr Osborne said the hunt had rules for taking hounds on the roads and that they were acting within the law.
He said: “It’s no different from a normal person walking their dog. We take great care.”
No one has been arrested in connection to the incident.
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police confirmed the details of the collision, which led to the road between Ashwell and Whissendine being temporarily closed to traffic.
He said: “We were called by the ambulance service to Whissendine Road in Ashwell, Leicestershire, just after 8am on Monday, June 25, to a road traffic collision.
“It involved a car, a bicycle and a number of working dogs and the cyclist suffered minor injuries.
“The driver of the car was unhurt and five dogs were killed, with five more being put down by a vet at the scene.
“The road was closed while the emergency services dealt with the incident.”
Source : Leicestershire Live