Horrified onlookers saw a foxhunt supporter kill an injured hounds with his bare hands. He prised the dog’s front legs apart as it lay dying at the roadside. Seconds later the animal, injured under the wheels of a horsebox, was taken away in a sack.
Animal lovers yesterday accused Cheshire Hunt supporters of deliberately driving hounds across the busy A51 at Duddon Heath, near Chester. Hunt saboteur Russell Nicholson, 21, who witnessed the road accident, said: “The dog was covered in blood and howling in pain.” “I could see it was close to death. I cradled its head to try and console it.”
“A hunt follower arrived and said he knew what to do. He prised its legs apart to put it out of its misery. He said it was a humane method. The hounds seemed to be in disarray and the hunt leaders appeared to have little control.” Colleague Mark Claramella, 27, said: “I helped a policeman clear a lot of hounds off the road.”
Hunt joint master Sir John Barlow denied the dogs were deliberately driven onto the road. He said: “The fox went across, so the pack followed. There were about 30 hounds. You don’t have them on collar and lead. Unfortunately one went under a vehicle and was injured. These things happen. A policeman at the scene was satisfied it was an accident.”
But the RSPCA condemned the killing and vowed to investigate. A spokesman said: “The appropriate way would have been to call a vet or an experienced marksman.”