TWO women who made national headlines after instigating an ASBO on a pack of hunting dogs which strayed into their gardens are to make a film about the trauma of hunts straying on to private land.
Jeanne Berry and Denise Ward, from Elcombe in the Slad Valley became the first people to get asbo warnings issued against huntsmen in 2006 and three warning notices were issued to three members of the Cotswold Hunt.
An exclusion zone was set up around Elcombe and for the past three years Ms Ward and Mrs Berry have been researching the effects of continued foxhunting – despite hunting live animals being banned banned by the Government in 2005.
Ms Ward has collated a database of violent and disruptive incidents on roads and private property, including the deaths of pet animals and livestock.
“We are no longer a feudal society. Traumatising incidents of disruption, trespass and violent acts on private property, or dangerous intrusion onto roads, which are directly caused by a minority pleasure activity, are unacceptable,” she told the SNJ.
Ms Ward herself saw the hounds invade her and her neighbours’ gardens back in 2006.
She still finds it hard to talk about the event, which she says had a traumatising impact.
“One minute there was peace and quiet and the next thing I knew a pack of hunting dogs was causing chaos in our gardens,” she said.
“It had the impact of a major event like a car crash, where you feel yourself watching but cannot believe it is happening – it was a moment of utter chaos.”
The second time hounds strayed into Elcombe, Ms Ward saw dogs rushing out of the private woodland that belongs to Mrs Berry.
“I heard a horrible screaming noise – they were chasing a deer, and after they had gone I found bloodstains, it was disgusting,” she said.
The pair are now working with film makers to expose what they have found out during the last few years.
The project has been taken on by an independent film company and will be released next year – the film will be called A Minority Pastime.
Ms Ward said: “There are many instances of when an animal, including cats, a pet terrier, a pet goat, foxes, and deer have been torn apart in front of members of the public, often being disembowelled.
“In four cases I have recorded these animals being torn apart in front of young children.
“There is no doubt that these events can traumatise – imagine seeing your pet cat disembowelled in front of you.”
Ms Ward and Mrs Berry believe that the 70 incidents they have collected are only the tip of the iceberg as many go unreported or are not officially recorded.
They believe the incidents show that packs of hounds trained to hunt live prey, or even scent derived from live prey, cannot be fully controlled.
A trailer of the film will be posted on the internet in October – look out for the story in the SNJ.
The pair are also looking for help with PR and fundraising. If you would like to get in touch with Jeanne please call 01452 813168 or email firstname.lastname@example.org