AN AGEING pet cat has been ripped apart in her own garden by hunting dogs which had strayed from the main pack.
And now the cat’s owner is calling for the Western Hunt to make sure its pack is properly trained and under control.
About 12 dogs had broken off from the rest of the Western Hunt meeting at Sennen last week and rampaged through the Crean Bottoms area before four or five of the dogs chased after and caught Molly, a 15-year-old cat belonging to Amanda Richardson.
She saw and heard the dogs roaming round her garden and actually witnessed the moment when Molly was ripped apart.
“I think they were hunting at the top of the valley and about a dozen peeled off and came down into Crean Bottoms,” she said. Click here!
“The huntsmen were slow to realise that their dogs were missing and they were running wild round my garden.
“My other cat (Salmon) is younger and quicker and immediately ran to safety in the woodpile but Molly is older and she was chased round to the garden at the back of the house.
“I ran round screaming and kicking at them but they ripped her apart and disembowelled her – it was horrific; I was appalled.
“Molly was a very domesticated and beautiful cat.”
Ms Richardson, who had owned Molly for 12 years, phoned Penwith dog wardens, three of them whom arrived very quickly but she said that they were unable to get the dogs under control and it was an hour and a half after Molly’s death before huntsmen rounded up the final dog.
She says she doesn’t blame the hounds but she does want the Western Hunt to ensure that such an incident never happens again.
“The dogs were only doing what comes naturally; they are bred to chase and kill animals – how can they tell the difference between a wild fox and a domesticated cat?
“But this wasn’t the first time that something like this has happened – there’ve been a number of occasions over the 12 years that I’ve been here that some of the dogs have become detached from the main pack and have run wild in my and my neighbours’ gardens.
“I want the Western Hunt to improve the quality of its dog control.”
Master of the Western Hunt, Ben Sparrow, said he went round to Ms Richardson’s house and apologised ‘unreservedly’ following the incident.
“We take every precaution we can but from time to time incidents like this occasionally happen.
“I’ve been in charge for about 1,500 hunt days and incidents like this are very rare – I generally have two whippers-in helping me.”
Mr Sparrow said the Hunt will contact Ms Richardson every time the Hunt meets in the area, which is about five or six times a year.
Rebecca Kirk, Penwith’s chief environmental health officer, said officers were investigating the incident.
“The dog warden has confirmed that the lady concerned was understandably very distressed by what had happened,” she said.
“The dog warden is now looking into whether any specific legislation has been breached and if it has then the appropriate legal action will be taken against the hunt.”