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Sabs recover the body of a fox killed by hounds from the East Kent with West Street Hunt

Police take no further action against Kent hunt that killed a fox in someone’s garden

Police have taken no further action against a hunt that killed a fox despite hunt saboteurs capturing the incident on video.

On 14 January, the East Kent with West Street Hunt killed a fox in a residential garden in Westmarch, near Canterbury. As Protect the Wild reported at the time, hounds killed the fox after a two-hour chase – although the murdered fox may in fact have been a bagged fox. This is when a hunt will release a captive fox from a bag or sack for hunting.

Footage posted by Kent Hunt Sabs at the time showed its members pulling the dead fox from the pack of hounds. The group also shared a stark photo of one member holding the dead fox.

However, despite the footage, Kent Police said last month that it would take no further action against the East Kent with West Street Hunt.

No chase, no charge

On 18 June, West Kent Hunt Sabs said that Kent Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had decided there was not enough evidence to bring charges.

The sab group’s video shows hounds around the body of the dead fox. However, it doesn’t show a pursuit, nor any members of the hunt. While it is unclear what additional evidence the sab group may have presented to the police, the hunting ban makes pursuing and not killing illegal. Furthermore, someone must show intent to illegally chase a mammal in order for a case to meet the threshold for charging.

As a result Matthew Vater, huntsman of the East Kent with West Street Hunt, escaped repercussion for his most egregious action that day.

Hunt sab holds the body of a fox killed by hounds. Police can be seen in the background.
Photo by Kent Hunt Sabs

Unnecessary

As West Kent Hunt Sabs pointed out, though, it was far from Vater’s only violent action that day:

“The huntsman had already notched up quite a few offences that day before killing this little animal, attempting to knock one of our male sabs over with his horse before succeeding to knock a female sab to the ground when he rode straight into her.”

It shared a video of Vater riding his horse at one sab.

Of course, none of this is necessary. Hunt saboteurs shouldn’t need to be out stopping hunts and helping wildlife escape nearly 20 years after the Hunting Act. As this case shows, that legislation has failed to protect foxes and it’s failed to protect people.

Scotland has shown the way with a law that will end hunting with hounds completely. It’s time Westminster followed suit.

Sign Protect the Wild’s petition to introduce the Hunting of Mammals Bill, which aims to do the job the Hunting Act never did.

Featured image via Kent Hunt Sabs/Twitter