NEWS AND COMMENT: You may remember the death of a tortoiseshell cat called Mini. She was killed by foxhounds who were being exercised in Madron, near Penzance, UK in March 2021. As I recall she was sitting on a fence and very hounds charged through the residential area where she lived.
The hunt master in charge at that time, John Sampson, 55, was convicted in December of being in charge of dogs that were dangerously out of control and his appeal against his sentence was rejected at Truro Crown Court. He was fined £480 and ordered to pay £350 compensation to Mini’s owner Ms Jose. That, by the way, gives an idea as to the value of a non-purebred cat although the compensation would have included other costs perhaps such as veterinary or cremation costs. In other words, courts don’t put a huge value on non-purebred domestic cats.
As a result of Mini’s death by foxhounds the owner set up a petition which achieved over one hundred thousand signatures which requested that the UK government create a new law called Mini’s Law (Public and Animal Safety Bill 2021) to prevent foxhounds being driven through residential and public areas in order to ensure the safety of the public and their companion animals.
The number of signatures demanded that the UK government debate the petition which happened on April 25, 2022. The UK government rejected the demands of the petition. In essence, they stated that the current laws deal with the sort of situation that resulted in Mini’s death.
Comment: the government is incorrect in my opinion. The two laws that they quoted which deal with the situation are reactive and the petition was asking for a proactive law which prevented injury or death to a cat by hounds.
The UK government state that “The police can take action under the Dogs Act 1871 where dogs are out of control and dangerous to other animals. This Government will not amend the Hunting Act.”.
They also stated that the Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt a wild mammal with dogs except when it is conducted in accordance with the exemptions under the Act. You can see these exemptions by clicking on the link: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/37/schedule/1. The enforcement of the Hunting Act is carried out by the police. The government’s response was that “This government will not amend the Hunting Act”.
Further comment: the Conservatives are currently in power in the UK. They tend to support foxhunting or they don’t want to upset the Countryside Alliance and the toffs in the country you like to kill foxes for fun. Although of course foxhunting with dogs is prohibited in the UK nowadays. Instead, they trail hunt but it is alleged that foxhunting still takes place under the radar under the pretext that they are trail hunting.
But this Conservative government don’t want to upset the foxhunting and countryside people because they represent them in Parliament. And therefore, there was little chance that this suggested amendment to the existing law, which I think is very wise, sensible and proactive, as mentioned, would pass into law. This government disappoints on animal welfare.