A senior magistrate fought with a pack of staghounds as they ripped apart her pet terrier, a court has heard.Catherine Hodgson, 59, from Devon beat the Tiverton staghounds as they “peeled apart” her jack russell Pippa.

When they refused to let go she used her hands and body as a human shield to try and protect her 14-year-old pet.

John Norrish, from the East Worlington kennels, has pleaded not guilty at Exeter Crown Court to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Mrs Hodgson told Exeter Crown Court how she had let Pippa and her other terrier out at as she was preparing breakfast at her farmhouse in East Worlington.

By the time Tiverton Staghounds hunt staff called the staghounds off, Pippa was badly injured.

She was later put to sleep by a vet.

Mrs Hodgson said: “I took hold of Pippa and I tried to beat the dogs off but they obviously weren’t going to let go.

“One hound was attached to the front of her neck and the other to her back, she was getting peeled apart.

“Pippa was bleeding very badly and all the other hounds were piling in on top of her. The only way I could stop them was to try and cover her with my body.”

Exercising hounds

The garden of Mrs Hodgson’s property opens directly onto a country lane regularly used by huntsman John Norrish, who is based at kennels two miles away.

The court heard that Mr Norrish decided to take the main pack back to kennels before returning to apologise.

Mr Norrish, who lives at the East Worlington kennels, has pleaded not guilty to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act alleging that he allowed dogs to enter a private place without permission and inflict injuries on Mrs Hodgson.

Mrs Hodgson, who together with her husband farmed on Exmoor for 30 years, was later treated for scratch wounds by her doctor.

The incident happened on 12 August 2006.

The case continues.

Source: BBC News

Hunt Details: Tiverton Staghounds

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