Cornish hunt master appeal rejected after cat mauled to death by hounds

Monday, April 25, 2022

For immediate release

A hunt master who was found guilty of allowing his hounds to maul a cat to death has today had his conviction upheld by a judge at Truro Crown Court.

The decision has been welcomed by leading animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports.

John Lanyon Sampson, of St Buryan, Cornwall, was originally found guilty in December at Truro Magistrates Court of being the owner/person in charge of dogs dangerously out of control in a private or public place.

His hounds – the pack from the Western Hunt - savaged and killed Mini, a 14-year-old rescue cat, outside her owner’s home on a housing estate in Madron, near Penzance, in March 2021.

Coincidentally, today ministers have been debating in Westminster whether to pass Mini’s Law, to make it illegal for hunts to go near residential or public areas, following a petition started by the cat’s owner Carly Jose.

Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“We welcome the decision to uphold the conviction. This case has shone a bright light on the way hunts and their hounds threaten local residents, wildlife, and their pets.

“Enough is enough. Sickening incidents like the one involving Mini are all too common in the British countryside. Although today’s debate is welcome, and shows the public what hunts are really like, the only way to stop this once and for all is to strengthen the Hunting Act.”

Not only did Sampson allow the hounds to attack Mini, but a member of the hunt was also videoed callously throwing the dead cat over the fence at the side of the cat owner’s home.

Speaking at the time of the incident, Carly Jose said her children “cried themselves to sleep” and added: “Nothing will bring Mini back or take away the trauma Mini and we have been through."


Notes to editors

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act 2004 and the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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