Hunters blame activists after pack of 40 dogs rip fox to shreds

Hunt saboteurs may have been to blame for a pack of hounds ‘deviating’ from their trail and ripping a fox to shreds, the huntsmen have claimed.

Disturbing footage emerged earlier this week showing dozens of dogs devouring a fox during a legal hunt in East Sussex.

It was captured by a hunt saboteur’s drone which followed the hunt from the skies for two hours.

The fox’s mutilated and decapitated body was strewn all over the field near the village of East Guldeford in East Sussex. In response, a spokesman for the East Sussex and Romney Marsh Hunt has said there is no evidence to suggest the fox was alive when it was found, before slamming the saboteurs for blowing horns to distract the dogs.

He said these ‘methods of distraction’ may have caused the hounds to become ‘confused and disorientated’.

He added: ‘The saboteurs’ actions are incredibly dangerous and we implore them not to interfere with our hounds and legal activities.’

Hunt saboteur Harry Blackhurst operated the drone and rejected the claims that the fox was alive and they were responsible for its death.
Pack of hounds filmed decapitating fox in legal hunt
Huntsmen on horseback were pictured in the field (Picture: Kent Hunt Sabs)
Pack of hounds filmed decapitating fox in legal hunt
The fox’s head was ripped off by the pack of hounds (Picture: Kent Hunt Sabs)

He said you can ‘clearly see the fox is alive’ if you look at the footage ‘frame by frame’.

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Mr Blackhurst, an activist with the Kent Hunt Saboteurs, said the filmed the huntsmen ‘pushing the hounds where it wouldn’t be possible to lay a trail and coincidentally where foxes like to hide.’

He did admit using horns to distract the animals during the two-hour long pursuit but said they were not used when the dogs killed the fox.

He said: ‘At the time the fox was killed me and my associates were nowhere near the hunt, at least 400 metres away.
‘We were not blowing horns or using any tactics other than having the drone above them to film what was going on because unfortunately we were not able to get close enough on foot.’

Mr Blackhurst said he watched the hounds tearing the fox apart on his drone camera.

He said: ‘It was awful. It was happening so close to us but there was nothing we could do.

Fox huntPicture: Kent Hunt Sabs
Hunt saboteur Harry Blackhurst launches a drone to follow the hounds
Pack of hounds filmed decapitating fox in legal hunt
Dozens of dogs ripped the fox to shreds (Picture: Kent Hunt Sabs)

‘There were so many ditches we just couldn’t get there in time to stop it and save the fox.

‘When I saw that they had ripped the fox’s head off I felt physically sick. It’s just disgusting that people would do that and take pleasure from it.’

He said there were about 30 people supporting and watching the hunt. He claimed ‘they were laughing’ when the dogs ripped the fox’s head off.

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He said: ‘We were speechless. The whole process from the hounds catching the fox and tearing its head off took three minutes. It was not a quick death.’

A Sussex Police spokesman said: ‘Sussex Police received a report of illegal fox hunting at Guldeford, near Rye, at 2.09pm on Saturday (November 9). Officers were deployed to the scene.

‘A video has now been provided and the matter will be investigated.

Pack of hounds filmed decapitating fox in legal hunt
The drone followed the horses and hounds from the skies (Picture: Kent Hunt Sabs)
Pack of hounds filmed decapitating fox in legal hunt
The hounds were filmed following a scent through the field near the village of East Guldeford, East Sussex (Picture: Kent Hunt Sabs)

‘Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 763 of 09/11.

‘We are not able to take reports or witness accounts via social media.’

In a statement, a hunt spokesman said: ‘The hunt was carrying out legal trail-hunting activities on Saturday, 9th November, when it appears that some hounds, unknowingly to the huntsman or other hunt officials, deviated from the path of the scent which had been laid for them and subsequently drifted on to the scent of a mammal.

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‘There is no evidence to suggest that this mammal was alive when the hounds found it and could have already been dead.

‘When this footage was taken there were anti-hunting activists blowing their hunting horns and using other methods of distraction which may have caused these hounds to become confused and disorientated.

‘The saboteurs’ actions are incredibly dangerous and we implore them not to interfere with our hounds and legal activities.’