UPDATE 7th July 2021
John Lanyon Sampson, 55 who is the huntsman and Master of the Western hunt has been charged by Devon and Cornwall Police in connection with this incident – Sampson of St Buryan, is due to appear before Truro Magistrates’ Court on 22 July where he will face charges of criminal damage and being the owner/person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control in a private or public place. In response the owner of the cat, Carly Jose said: “Me and my children are relieved that the hunt master has been charged. Nothing will bring Mini back or take away the trauma Mini and we have been through.”**
The hunting party fled the scene quickly but one man returned to allegedly offer Mini’s owner money.
6th March 2021
The neighbour of a woman whose 14-year-old rescue cat was savagely mauled to death by a group of hunting hounds caught the whole shocking incident on camera.
In the video, which CornwallLive has seen and a screenshot has been taken from above, the huntsman can be seen picking up the body of Mini, a black rescue cat, and throwing it over the fence of one of the neighbours’ gardens, in the usually quiet street in West Cornwall.
Mini’s devastated owner, Carly Jose, says she is “heartbroken” following the distressing incident, which took place earlier today (March 6).
She told CornwallLive: “We’re trying to wrap our heads around what has happened and why. It’s really hard. We’re all absolutely devastated.
“I think it’s worse because my children are here. They’ve had to listen to everything that’s been going on today.
“My daughter is training to be a vet, so she was working at a local practice today. I’m still struggling to tell her certain parts of what has happened because it’s just too traumatic. We’re a family who help animals.
“People say, accidents happen, but this was no accident.
“This was an evil act.”
Carly went on to describe her day, which began much like any other.
“Mini was pestering me for food,” she said. “She didn’t like going out really, especially not out in the front garden. But today I had no choice but to let her out.”
Carly’s father passed away in 2016 and Mini, a rescue cat who had been through a lot of abuse, came into her life.
Carly said: “We were told that she could get quite nasty but, when we saw her, she took to us straight away and we just said ‘we want her’.
“She really was a gorgeous little thing. She’d been through a lot already in her life and had fallen very poorly with Meningitis a while back and she’d almost died.
“She still struggled to walk, so preferred it out in the back garden. But on this day, I let her out the front and I still feel so guilty. I keep asking myself “what if” but these sorts of things shouldn’t happen in a quiet street like ours.
“We’re just a quiet little road, we’re supposed to feel safe here.”
Carly and her family, who include her three children aged 14, 17 and 21, live with many animals, including some which spend the day in pens in the back garden.
A massive commotion
Carly was upstairs when she heard a “massive commotion” outside.
“Our other cat Todd has been quite poorly recently, so we’ve been having to take care of him,” she explained.
After hearing the commotion, Carly checked the back garden and the pens but it was “peaceful there”. Then she went out into the front garden and saw her neighbour surrounded by the hounds.
Recalling the distressing event, she said: “The huntsmen had run off and so we ran into our back gardens – he into his, me into mine and we met in the middle.
“He asked me which of my cats had been out and I told him ‘Mini. Mini’s out. I let her out the front.'”
One of the men involved in the hunt had grabbed Mini’s body and flung her over the fence of one of the back gardens.
One of Carly’s neighbours had caught the whole thing on camera, while another was helping her search for Mini’s body.
Carly said: “My neighbour found Mini, who was dead at this point. I was heartbroken and in shock and everything seemed to go in a blur.
“I contacted the vets where my daughter works to see if I needed to bring Mini in – as some sort of proof of what had happened.
“I contacted the police and they arrived quickly.
Interaction with the hunting party are usually limited in the area, but Carly said the hounds actually live very close by.
She said: “I don’t see the hounds but I often see the boxes going past and I can hear them quite a lot.
“I wonder what the hounds had been doing here – could they smell Mini, did they come this way just to get her?
“I suppose we will never know because they will never tell us. But things like this shouldn’t be happening. I shouldn’t have to fear for the lives of my animals in my own street. No-one should.”
Later in the day, Carly was shocked further to discover one of the men involved in the day’s hunting exercise on her doorstep.
She said: “The Hunt master came to my house to offer me money.
“He asked ‘what can we do to make this better’ and I knew exactly what he meant.
“I simply asked ‘can you bring my cat back?’ and when he couldn’t reply, he went onto say that he knew what I was going through because he had lost a dog in the past in a car accident.
“What he did was evil.
“When I asked the Hunt master on my doorstep what reassurance he could give me that this wouldn’t happen again, he couldn’t say anything.”
When asked what she hoped could come of the evidence captured during today’s events, Carly thanked the efforts of her neighbours who she said shared the views of her and her family when it came to the welfare of animals.
She went on to say: “I want justice for Mini. There needs to be a turning point. Things like this cannot happen.
“I don’t want another family to go through what we’ve gone through.”
CornwallLive is approaching the hunting group involved.
Devon and Cornwall Police said: “No arrests have been made but enquiries are ongoing”.