An evil hunt master fed live fox cubs to his hounds to ‘give them a taste for blood’.
Paul Oliver, 40, was secretly filmed tossing the defenceless animals to his dogs before their carcasses were later found dumped in a wheelie bin.
He was found guilty of four counts of animal cruelty and was handed a 16-week suspended jail sentence, while his kennel maid Hannah Rose received a 12-week suspended custodial sentence.
You can watch the harrowing footage here:
Anti-hunt activists contacted police after installing hidden cameras at the South Herefordshire Hunt kennels in May 2016.
The covert recordings were played at Birmingham magistrates’ court, showing Oliver carrying a fox cub into the kennels as hounds can be heard barking.
Minutes later he is seen emerging from the kennel and dumping the dead animal into a commercial bin before spraying it with a liquid.
The defendants claimed the animals had been killed before being given to the dogs by a blow to the head with an axe.
But District Judge Joanna Dickens told the pair she did not believe their account of events and found them both guilty following a week long trial.
Rose wept in the dock as she was convicted of the charge while her long-term partner Oliver remained emotionless.
The judge told them:
The covert video footage speaks for itself and has not been disputed.
Fox one died as a result of an injury to the chest, there was no evidence of any injury to the head or any suggestion of a blow to the head.
I am sure the injury to the chest didn’t cause the cub to die instantaneously.
It is impossible the second fox was hit over the head as there was no skull injury, it more than likely the fox was dropped on the floor. One hound killed the foxes.
Oliver had said he took this post up in May 2016. Farmers were complaining about foxes on their land and he would refer them to Parry.
Mr Parry believed the fox cubs were going to be relocated and had no knowledge of their deaths.
I accepted Rose wasn’t directly involved in the killing of the cubs.
The court heard how an animal rights investigator captured the moment the fox cubs were fed to the dogs after placing a magnetic tracker on a Land Rover.
Karl Garside said covert cameras were installed near white trailers on site of SHH Kennels, where he also found a fox cub in a cage.
Giving evidence from behind a screen Mr Garside said:
Fox hunting was banned in 2005, so we put the camera in there to establish why the fox cub was in there.
On May 16, 2016, a man can be seen carrying a fox cub out of the back of the trailer and then you can hear the noises of hounds barking.
In the early hours of the morning on May 26, 2016 I went back to the kennels and we found two alive fox cubs in the cage on the ground.
A man in a black t-shirt with a cap on can be seen carrying a fox cub by the scruff of its neck at 10.19am.
Another camera caught a different angle of the fox cub being taken on May 27, 2016.
The man with the cap can be seen putting the dead fox into a bin. He is then seen taking another fox cub into the kennel.
He is then seen spraying something onto the foxes in the bin, we went to the site later and saw the fox cubs in the bin, they looked blue.
Judge Dickens said the ‘hate campaign’ against the hunters was ‘punishment in itself,’ telling the court:
Rose and Oliver have been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to fox cubs by killing them.
As a result of their actions four fox cubs were killed whilst in the kennels. They did not have the chance to escape.
They were both killed by bites from a single hound. This is a serious case because it involves offences committed at hunt kennels.
Both have been subjected to a hateful social media campaign and it has taken a toll on their health.
They have lost their home and this was a very serious offence. Both defendants will never work in hunting again.
Oliver has taken a lead role in this. This was a very serious offence of it’s type.
The fox cubs suffered a painful, terrifying death. They are finished in the hunting community as a result of these proceedings.
Fox hunting has been illegal in the UK since The Hunting Act 2004 came into force in 2005, with the exception of hounds flushing out foxes to be shot. However, many campaigners say the legislation allows for loopholes which allows illegal hunts to continue without punishment.
You can watch the full documentary here:
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.