- Paul Oliver, 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
- Hannah Rose, 12 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.
- Paul Reece and Julie Elmore received a conditional discharge.
- No disqualification from keeping animals.
10th June 2019
Huntsman and partner found guilty in fox cub animal cruelty case after activists mounted secret filming operation kennels near Ross-on-Wye
Activists celebrate victory nearly four years after launching special forces style covert filming operation.
A former huntmaster and his partner have been convicted of animal cruelty after he was accused of taking cubs to hounds at kennels on the Gloucestershire borders.
Paul Oliver and kennel maid Hannah Rose were convicted after an anti-hunting investigation team installed covert cameras in May 2016.
The court was told that hidden motion-sensitive cameras placed by the anti-bloodsports activists Hunt Investigation Team (HIT ) recorded four fox cubs being moved around the South Herefordshire Hunt kennel complex.
Two here taken into the hounds and the 40-year-old master of the hounds Oliver was recorded dumping the bodies of two cubs in a wheelie bin.
At Birmingham Magistrates Court today he was found guilty of four counts of causing an animal unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and given a 16 week suspended sentence.
His 30-year-old partner was convicted of three out of four counts of the same charge and received a 12 week suspended sentence.
They were also each ordered to pay £300 in costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
A total of four people have now been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
Julie Elmore, 55, of Brynarw estate, near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, and Paul Reece, 48, from Itton, near Chepstow, Monmouthshire, pleaded guilty to an allegation that they committed the offence while transporting the foxes, rather than killing them.
Elmore and Reece were given conditional discharges and ordered to pay costs of £50 after the judge said both had been “motivated by consideration” for two fox cubs.
The operation was launched amid fears that a fifth defendant, Nathan Parry, 40, also Brynarw estate, was catching cubs for the hunt and a tracker was put on his Land Rover by the team which is said to include ex-military personnel.
Mr Parry took foxes to kennels but was found not guilty and cleared of all charges after the judge accepted he believed they would be relocated in the wild.
The League Against Cruel Sports claims Oliver was teaching his hounds to kill in defiance of the ban on hunting.
Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports and former head of the police’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, said such incidents show some hunts are clearly still hunting foxes.
“The barbarity of these incidents is sickening and will horrify the vast majority of the British public who are overwhelmingly opposed to fox hunting,” he added.
Deborah Marshall, spokesperson for the Hunt Investigation Team, said it showed the practise was “widespread across Britain”
She added: “We are clearly pleased that the hard work and integrity of the Hunt Investigation Team has resulted in convictions. We will continue to expose cruelty and wildlife crime and our message to hunts everywhere is ‘Expect Us’.”