WITNESSES have described a scene of horror and chaos after three hunting hounds were killed on the A303.

Police are investigating after dogs of the Seavington Hunt strayed onto the busy dual carriageway near Tintinhull at about 11.50am on Saturday.

Angie Williams of Ilchester was working in the shop at nearby Townsend Garage when she saw about 30 hounds on both sides of the carriageway.

She said: “The first poor animal to be hit and killed wrecked the car of a French man with his wife and two small children, who were very shaken. The next two to be killed were on the other side of the road.

“We could not believe it. The garage staff had to go on to the road and direct and slow traffic to prevent any more animals being slaughtered. The traffic was particularly heavy. It was carnage.

“There appeared to be only one red-coated huntsman blowing a horn to try and get some semblance of order, which was woefully inadequate, followed by a couple of Land Rovers, in which the dead dogs were taken away in.

“If ever there was a case for the anti-hunt brigade, this was it. It was thoroughly upsetting. If it had not been for the staff at the garage, risking life and limb on the road, to slow the traffic, things could have been far worse.”

She said she called the police immediately but they took 25 minutes to arrive.

Motorist Leon Byron of Yeovil said: “Everyone was swearing at the huntsmen, calling them murderers. We were trying to shoo the dogs back through a field.

“At one point the hunters had a quad bike driving towards the traffic on one side of the carriageway, trying to stop cars hitting the dogs.

“It shouldn’t have happened. The first lot of hounds were hit by cars probably doing 60mph. Only one police car turned up.”

Rae Taylor, joint owner of Townsend Garage, said: “I heard this horrible thud. It will be a long time before I forget it. We were so upset because we are animal lovers. The dogs should have not been anywhere near a main road like the A303.”

Trevor Kinsley, a mechanic at Taylor’s Garage next door to Townsend, said: “I saw a car hit one of the dogs and send it skidding up the road.”

A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sports said it was a miracle no-one was killed.

“We think the hunt is grossly irresponsible for allowing its hounds to go anywhere near a main road, especially if it was hunting a trail as it will undoubtedly say. If it can’t control its hounds then it should stop going out until it learns that basic skill,” he said.

Seavington Hunt secretary Charlotte Jackson would not go into detail about what happened but did say: “There was an incident on the A303 and, unfortunately, a number of hounds did go onto the road. All I can say is the matter is now in the hands of the police and the hunt’s solicitors. The hunt is also conducting an internal investigation.”

Police said they were called to a collision at 11.51am involving a Citroen Saxo and Citroen Xantia. No-one was injured and inquiries are ongoing.

Alison Hawes, regional director for the Countryside Alliance, said “The Seavington are a very responsible hunt.

“I can’t recall them ever having had an accident. They are extremely well-run.”

Mrs Hawes said hounds, by their nature, were susceptible to running off the trail in unpredictable directions, if they caught the scent of a rabbit or a fox.

Hunt Details: Seavington Hunt

Source: Somerset Live