15th February 2021
Two men have appeared in court charged with illegally hunting a fox with hounds on Dartmoor.
David Lewis, 50, and Gareth Frain, 25, are accused of hunting a wild mammal with dogs on Dartmoor in Devon on 14 December 2019.
The court heard both men were paid employees of the Lamerton Hunt, based at Lewdown, Devon, with Lewis acting as huntsman and Frain as the whipper-in.
The pair denied the charges at Exeter Magistrates’ Court.
The court was shown video clips of the defendants wearing red coats and on horseback on the hillside at Lake Down, two miles from Bridestowe, Devon.
Prosecutors said Mr Lewis, of Lewdown, Devon, had primary control of the hounds while Mr Frain, of Egloskerry, Cornwall, acted as his assistant.
The court was told three witnesses had heard Lewis shouting to the pack of hounds “on, on, on”.
Prosecutors said the fact the fox managed to escape the hunt’s hounds was not relevant to the case.
Under the 2004 Hunting Act, foxes cannot be killed by dogs as part of a hunt. One or two dogs can be used to “flush out” – remove from cover – a fox, which should then be shot.
The defendants told police they were employed by the hunt to control the hounds, the court heard.
The prosecution said it did not accept the suggestion that accepted trails had been laid out.
The trial continues.