A former Huntsman will be appearing at Taunton Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 3 accused of illegally hunting a stag with a pack of hounds.

The case follows an investigation by Avon and Somerset Police based on evidence obtained by volunteers from Hounds Off and Somerset Wildlife Crime, who monitored the hunt on National Trust land at Trendle Ring in the Quantock Hills in Somerset on Monday, March 18, 2019.

Richard Down, formerly of the Quantock Staghounds, will appear in court in a case expected to last two days.

Peter White, a spokesperson for Somerset Wildlife Crime and Hounds Off, said:

“We welcome this prosecution against Richard Down and the Quantock Staghounds for the alleged persecution of British wildlife and we hope that justice is served.”

Richard Down faces a charge of hunting a wild mammal with a dog contrary to Section 1 of the Hunting Act 2004.

Martin Sims, director of investigations at the League Against Cruel Sports, who is also a former head of the police’s National Wildlife Crime Unit, said:

“We’d like to congratulate the monitors who obtained the footage that has led to this court case and we now await the outcome of the trial.”

The case comes nearly 15 years after hunting with dogs was banned in England and Wales with the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004, which came into force on February 18, 2005.


Notes to Editors

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

A Huntsman is employed by the hunt and is responsible for directing the pack of hounds during the day’s hunting.

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. 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 www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).