Beloved pets are the latest casualties of reckless hunting in Britain, according to figures released by a leading animal welfare charity.

The League Against Cruel Sports received 18 reports of hunting hounds disturbing domestic pets during the last hunting season, from October until March.

Ten of these incidents involved pet dogs and four involved cats, during which the animals were chased and sometimes killed.

Nick Weston, head of campaigns at the League, said: “If ‘trail’ hunting is real, then there is no excuse for hunting hounds to be chasing people’s pets.

“Hounds chasing pets demonstrates that they are both out of control and are still being trained to kill.”

Hunts claim that they are ‘trail’ hunting - where hounds chase an animal-based scent – and yet residents in rural villages are still subjected to uncontrollable hounds chasing foxes and pets through their own gardens.

Ten of the 18 incidents took place on private property, which is consistent with the high volume of reports of hunt trespass made to the League.

The League received 110 reports of hunts trespassing on private land, 54 of which described hunts trespassing in private residential gardens.

One incident made headlines when a kitten was ripped apart on Christmas Eve, by hounds belonging to the Bramham Hunt.

Another incident left a woman horrified when eight hunting hounds chased a fox onto her land. They then went for her blind dog, before they killed the fox as it was escaping over her back gate. They “grabbed him by the tail and proceeded to tear him apart”.

Nick Weston said:Hunts trespassing onto private land whilst pursuing a fox is extremely concerning. If people and their pets cannot be safe in their own back garden, then there really is no escape from the damage that hunts can cause.

“It is time that these hunts were held accountable.”

The National Trust licenses ‘trail’ hunting on its estates. A motion has been lodged by over 200 National Trust members, with the hope that the issue of hunt licensing will be debated at the trust’s annual meeting next year. 

Help the League to end ‘trail’ hunting on National Trust land, here: https://www.league.org.uk/nationaltrust