Fox death probe dropped

Coventry Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By BEN ECCLESTON Crime Re­porter news@trin­i­tymir­

AN in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a video of a fox ap­par­ently be­ing killed by a pack of hunt­ing dogs has been dropped by po­lice.

The footage was shot by an­i­mal rights ac­tivists from West Mid­lands Hunt Sabo­teurs who claim the fox was sav­aged by a pack of hounds con­nected to the Ather­stone Hunt.

The an­i­mal is shown on cam­era flee­ing from the dogs dur­ing an in­ci­dent in Shut­ting­ton, North War­wick­shire, just a few miles from Twycross Zoo, in Jan­uary this year.

In the video, a woman leaps out of a car and screams: “They’re in some­one’s b****y gar­den, some­one’s started killing it. Oh my God! Get off it!”

The fox died in the arms of one of the pro­test­ers a short while later.

The in­ci­dent was re­ported to War­wick­shire Po­lice who have now said that no fur­ther ac­tion will be taken. A spokesman for the force said: “Fol­low­ing re­ports made to the po­lice re­gard­ing al­leged of­fences un­der the Hunt­ing Act 2004, spe­cial­ist wildlife of­fi­cers con­ducted a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Fol­low­ing this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice took the de­ci­sion that there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to take any fur­ther ac­tion.”

Hunt­ing with dogs was banned in 2005 in a re­ac­tion to the strength of public feel­ing against the cru­elty of wild an­i­mals be­ing chased, of­ten to the point of ex­haus­tion, be­fore be­ing pur­posely set upon by packs of dogs for so-called sport.

But there are a num­ber of ex­emp­tions and hunts are al­lowed to fol­low arti- fi­cially laid trails and there are com­plaints from both sides of the de­bate that the law is not clear enough.

A spokesper­son for West Mid­lands Hunt Sabo­teurs said: “This is not the first in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Ather­stone Hunt for il­le­gal hunt­ing that has been dropped.

“The cur­rent leg­is­la­tion isn’t strong enough.

“What needs to hap- pen now is that the Hunt­ing Act should be strength­ened to elim­i­nate the loop­holes. It needs to be a to­tal ban with no ex­emp­tions.”

A spokesman for Ather­stone Hunt said: “We un­der­stand that War­wick­shire Po­lice will be tak­ing no fur­ther ac­tion fol­low­ing an al­leged in­ci­dent in­volv­ing the Ather­stone Hunt on Jan­uary 14.”

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