2nd October 2020
HUNT hounds are suspected of killing a pet cat before tearing through a boarding kennel and animal-rescue centre.
The County Durham-based Braes of Derwent Hunt was accused of allowing some of its hounds to run loose in the kennel grounds during an outing on Tuesday.
Tracey Hobbs, owner of Tendercare boarding kennels at Annfield Plain, near Stanley, believes some of the hounds caught and killed her tabby cat Winter.
The hunt has since apologised for any distress caused and promised to take steps to prevent it going onto the property in the future.
Miss Hobbs said she and staff, along with customers who were picking up their dogs, were scared when about ten hounds hurtled through the kennel yard.
She said: “It was horrifying, really awful.
“We didn’t know anything until we heard the horns and saw some of the hounds on the top of the hill.
“I said ‘seriously not’ because I knew what was going to happen.
“I heard my cat scream, one lot seemed to go after him and I presume killed the poor thing because I haven’t seen him since.
“About ten more hurtled through the kennels, everyone had to run into the kennels or office, picking up animals and closing all the doors.
“The hounds were out of control, great big dogs running through the gardens and kennels.
“They didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t want them running onto the road so I went to shut the gate but they jumped over the wall and were away.”
Miss Hobbs said she then spoke to two riders who said the hounds had gone ‘off trail’.
She said: “They cannot be allowed to get away with this.
“I care about animals, I rescue dogs and injured wildlife and run a business from here. It was a frightening experience and I’d really ask the hunt to stay off this site and the field next door so they don’t come here again.
“I am surrounded by farmland which hunt is allowed to ride on but the last twice the hunt has been on they have been onto my land but this instance was awful.”
A spokesperson for the Braes of Derwent Hunt: “The Braes of Derwent Hunt is aware of allegations being made on social media regarding our lawful hunting activities on Tuesday, September 29.
“A hunt representative apologised to the boarding kennel owner at the time, however we would like to further apologise if our activities have caused distress to any member of the public, and their pets or livestock in any way.
“The hunt officials work tirelessly to ensure good relationships are established with our farmers and landowners and we endeavour to deal with any complaints or concerns that arise immediately, while respecting the wishes of those who do not permit the hounds to cross their land.
“The hunt will take the appropriate steps to prevent us going onto the property in the future.
“The hunt operates within the law to comply with the Hunting Act and our professional hunt staff take great pride in their work, including the education of the hounds which are well-socialised with livestock, pets and children before they begin their hunting careers.”
Durham police was informed of the incident but said it was a civil matter.