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Terriermen with the East Kent with West Street Hunt

RSPCA and police raid properties across England connected with hunting and terrierwork

Police ‘raided’ properties across England in conjunction with the RSPCA, ITV News reported. And all of the houses raided were connected to hunts and terriermen.

The majority of arrests took place in Kent. Officers arrested four men in an “operation looking into alleged animal welfare and wildlife offences”, KentLive reported on 20 January. The raids themselves took place on 18 January and, in addition to arrests, led to the seizure of ten terriers and lurchers. It was led by the RSPCA and carried out by Kent Police.

West Kent Hunt Saboteurs had itself posted on 18 January that the raid took place at the house of “a key terrierman” of the East Kent with West Street Hunt. It noted that the raid came after the sab group had filmed hounds from the same hunt killing a fox on 14 January, which Protect the Wild previously reported on. The sab group said in its initial post as well as a later hit report that “armed police” enacted the raid.

KentLive quotes an RSPCA spokesperson as saying:

“A number of warrants took place on Wednesday 18 January as part of an operation looking into alleged animal welfare and wildlife offences.

“Kent Police seized two dogs at one location in the Canterbury area and eight were seized at a location near Folkestone.

“The dogs – who were mostly terriers and some lurcher dogs – have now been placed in RSPCA care. Other supporting evidence was also seized by police.”

And it also quoted a spokesperson for Kent Police as saying:

“Four men were arrested as part of the ongoing investigation: two men from the Canterbury area aged 21 and 66 years old, a 37-year-old man from the Ashford area and a 44-year-old from the Folkestone area.

“They have been released under investigation while enquiries continue.”

West Kent Hunt Saboteurs were back out with the East Kent with West Street Hunt on 20 January. The sab group’s hit report said that “No terrier men were seen”.

Patterdale terrier

Further raids

Meanwhile, ITV News said on 22 January that warrants were also acted on by police in Norfolk, Sussex and Thames Valley. It reported that:

“acting on intelligence, a series of dawn raids have been simultaneously conducted by police and RSPCA officers across the country, both at hunt kennels and homes belonging to those who use dogs for hunting.”

In Norfolk, a man in his 50s was arrested in Wisbech. He was released pending further investigation. In Berkshire, Thames Valley Police arrested a 31-year-old man in Faringdon on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal but was released with no further action. It also recovered three dogs. ITV News provided no further details on what happened in Sussex.

The British Hound Sports Association, which oversees hunts across the country, said it “is not aware of the detail of the allegations and cannot comment on an open investigation”.