Hunt leaders have vowed to stop exercising their hounds in Peak villages after a family’s cat was savaged and killed by their pack of dogs.
Members of the High Peak Hunt had been riding through Sheldon near Bakewell when the pack of around 40 hounds attacked the animal after spotting it by the side of the road.
Bob Graham, joint master of the hunt, said some of the younger hounds ran to the cat before the other dogs followed – eventually killing the pet – during the early morning ride through the village.
He said: “We are all deeply shocked and saddened that something like this has happened – it is not something I have seen before in all my years with the hunt.
“Normally a cat will run away as soon as it sees or hears us coming, but this one stayed sat at the side of the road.
“Unfortunately some of the younger hounds, who are more difficult to control, got to the animal and the rest of the pack followed.”
Group leaders have now promised not to ride through Sheldon and other villages nearby, following calls from concerned residents – including the family who owned the cat – in the wake of the incident on September 8.
Mr Graham added: “The day it happened I met with the family and told them how deeply sorry we are that this has happened.
“This is the only village we tend to ride through, and we have done so for years, but we have been asked not to exercise our hounds in the village any longer and we have agreed to this.”
Hunting with hounds was banned by new laws which came into force in February 2005, but packs are still exercised to get fit for ‘trials’ which test the animals’ ability.