Dog walker’s anger at “dangerous” Hunt

PUBLISHED: 08:33 10 January 2013

The horses and hounds were spotted near Burloes farm

The horses and hounds were spotted near Burloes farm

Archant

A SHOCKED woman was confronted with a fully-fledged “hunt” with hounds while out walking her dog.

Ann Kelly ran into the members of the Puckeridge Hunt near Burloes Farm, just outside Royston.

Police said they were not aware of the Hunt’s activity at the time, but claimed the party was exercising its horses.

Mrs Kelly, who lives in Royston, said: “Imagine my shock at seeing a hunt, with hounds, gathering at Burloes Farm. “My dog was terrified when the hounds appeared – and that was at a distance across the fields. Imagine what could have happened if I had been out further across the fields and we were suddenly confronted by a full scale hunt?”

Hunting wild animals, such as foxes, deer, or hares, with hounds has been illegal since the 2004 Hunting Act was introduced. However, hunts are still allowed to meet and partake in drag hunting, where the hounds are trained to follow an artificial scent. If this is taking place police must be informed beforehand.

“I went back up there later in the day and there were hoof prints all over the public footpath,” said Mrs Kelly. “They’d obviously run straight across the path and I don’t think that’s acceptable. I go running up there, often on my own, and there are a lot of other dog walkers who use the paths and trails.

“I’m not a fan of hunting but I accept that people like to ride their horses. What I don’t accept is them putting others in danger, if they ran straight out at you it would be a very frightening experience for anyone.”

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police confirmed it had received a complaint about the incident, which occurred on Saturday, December 29.

He said: “We did receive a call from a someone who had seen the horses near Burloes Farm and was concerned about what was going on.

“We spoke to the stables at Burloes Farm who confirmed that it was members of the Puckeridge Hunt, but that they were not hunting and were instead just exercising their horses.”

The Crow attempted to contact the Puckeridge Hunt, but had been unable to do so at the time of going to press.

The group, which has been active in Hertfordshire since 1725, states on its website: “Since the Hunting Act 2004, the Puckeridge Hunt has hunted within the law and we have an active social calendar that exists throughout the year, not just during the hunting season.”

What do you think? Email postbag@royston-crow.co.uk

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