A NEW drag hunting group is reviewing its plans to start its first full season in the autumn after some of its dogs were found to have been neglected.
Alasdair Hilleary, committee chairman of the Highland Drag Hunt, yesterday apologised after animal welfare inspectors were called in to investigate when four hounds were discovered in unacceptable conditions in Dores earlier this week.
“Our inspectors found the kennels to be filthy,” said Scottish SPCA chief inspector Iain Allan.
The dogs have been rehomed and the charity is taking no further action, but Mr Hilleary described it as a setback for the group’s plans. “We had placed the hounds in the responsibility of somebody who has let us down,” he said, not wanting to identify the individual.
“Unfortunately, the situation was obviously our ultimate responsibility, but I think that it has now been put right. We’ve had a blip – a major blip – and we’re hoping to put it back on track and fulfil what we set out to do. Obviously I’m very sorry that these hounds found themselves to be in that situation and it’s not the sort of thing I will allow to happen again.”
The group’s honorary joint secretary, Moira McCallum, resigned from the organisation after finding the dogs.
“Their pens hadn’t been cleaned and they had been given heaps of food, like that was to keep them for days before someone would go back to them,” she said.
Former joint secretary Sheree Dobson also walked out on the group following the incident. “I’m not associating myself with them in any way, shape or form, because of the way the dogs were found,” she said.
Drag hunting, an alternative to fox hunting – which was banned in the UK five years ago – involves hounds chasing a scent, which has been dragged over land ahead of the hunt. The group has eight other hounds, thought to be kept on the Black Isle.