Put hunt dogs on leads

PUBLISHED: 15:53 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 12:06 10 June 2010

The Article about Kathy Moyle makes interesting reading: Dog rules not fair , (October 10). But I think a distinction must be made between fox hunting and following dogs for sport.

The Article about Kathy Moyle makes interesting reading: Dog rules 'not fair', (October 10). But I think a distinction must be made between fox hunting and following dogs for sport. The Hunting Act 2004 made it an offence for a person to hunt, stalk or flush out a wild mammal with more than two dogs.

The East Devon Dog Control Order, which came into effect on October 1, 2009, says the maximum number of dogs which a person may take onto land is six, unless the person has a reasonable excuse. The order has, therefore, no effect on fox hunting as such an activity is already restricted to two dogs.

It appears clear to me that the new Dog Control Order, restricting the number of dogs to six, applies to local hunts as it would be a feeble and unreasonable excuse to say they were following dogs for fun. Statutes conferring special privileges on hounds being used for sporting purposes must surely have ended when the Hunting Act came into force on February 19, 2005.

Until that time, hunting hounds could, for example, go through a field of sheep, but dogs of lesser status were not accorded such a privilege and, unlike hunting hounds, were not allowed on highways without leads. (Although I am unable to find a precise legal definition of the term 'dogs used for sporting purposes', it has, over the years, become synonymous with fox hunting).

I am not surprised that the Joint Master of the East Devon Hunt does not share my views, but East Devon District Council should know better than to say "taking a pack of organised hounds in a legal hunt would amount to a reasonable excuse". The council appears to be unaware that hunting with a pack of hounds is illegal and was banned by the Hunting Act 2004.

This matter will, eventually, have to be decided in a court of law. Meanwhile, it would be satisfying to see dogs of the local hunt on leads, and I am sure Kathy Moyle would agree.

John Phelps,

Argyll Road,

Exeter.


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