A hunt has apologised unreservedly after its hounds killed a much-loved pet cat as they “ran out of control”.
One dog snatched the terrified animal from under a car in a private garden and “shook her like a rag doll”, the owner told The Independent.
The hounds “ran ahead of the horses uncontrolled” while the riders were out exercising in Bakewell, Derbyshire.
Hunt organisers said they were reviewing their procedures to prevent another pet being killed.
Rebecca Bingham said her two-year-old cat, called Spider, was sitting on a wall at the end of her yard when the hounds came running.
“Before she had chance to move, one jumped up on the wall,” she said. “She then dodged and hid underneath the car, but it crawled under after her, brought her out, jaws clamped around her stomach, and shook her like a rag doll.
“But by the time we managed to get the dog to release her, she was the gasping for air, and within a minute she was passed away.”
Ms Bingham said Spider, whom she had had since birth, was “a real beauty, and was still in my eyes a baby”.
The two mounted riders, from the High Peak Hunt, were not hunting but appeared to be out exercising with the hounds, she said.
This isn’t the first time she’s had to intervene to get the hounds out of her garden, saying that they have tried to push through the gate in the past to get to their cats or the cat food on the ground, adding: “We have had to remove them from our property more than once because of this.”
Taking to Facebook, one of Ms Bingham’s friends wrote: “Please if you know of, or see anything, anywhere, report it as wildlife crime. This isn’t okay, and no one should have to worry about their precious babies being injured or losing their life due to some folk enjoying this so-called ‘sport’.”
A spokesperson from the High Peak Hunt told the Independent the hounds were being walked out where they’re routinely exercised without incident.
The statement went on: “The hunt has been in contact with the cat owner and apologised unreservedly for the distress this has caused.
“Incidents of this nature involving hounds are incredibly rare due to the professionalism with which the hounds are handled in kennels and throughout their lives; however, the hunt has taken this matter very seriously and is reviewing their procedures to prevent any reoccurrence.”
However, the Derby Hunt Saboteurs, who campaign against the fox hunting in the county, said the incident proved how dangerous the practice was.
A spokesperson said: “This incident shows the huntsman’s lack of control over their hounds. If they weren’t trained to kill this wouldn’t happen.
“Time and time again we have seen this happen. It was only a few weeks ago the High Peak Harriers were filmed chasing a calf.”
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