A dog owner has criticised a stag hunt for trying to buy her silence after her terrier was ripped apart by two of its hounds outside her home.
Catherine Hodgson, a magistrate who is chairman of the North Devon bench, tried to beat the hounds and used her body as a human shield in a vain attempt to protect her pet, Pippa.
But the 14-year-old Jack Russell border cross was left “horribly wounded” and had to be put down, she said.
Tiverton Staghounds offered her £1,000 in compensation for “shock and trauma” on condition she remained silent. Later, however, the hunt withdrew the confidentiality clause when Mrs Hodgson of East Worlington, Devon, pointed out that she had a duty to inform police.
She said: “When we got the hunt’s letter offering hush money it made me so angry. I want everyone to know what happened.”
The hunt’s solicitors offered the compensation and promised to pay vet bills plus the cost of a new dog. They sought confidentiality but, when the Hodgsons refused, the firm agreed this would be “inappropriate”. The couple have now accepted the compensation.
The joint master of Tiverton Staghounds, John Lucas, said both hounds involved had been destroyed. “I have apologised profusely to the couple concerned,” he said.