Court lets hunter off the hook after he fed live cubs to hounds

General / 18 July 2019

Court lets hunter off the hook after he fed live cubs to hounds 1

The Political Animal Lobby has expressed outrage after a UK judge gave a hunter and his accomplice a slap on the wrist for mercilessly feeding live fox cubs to his hounds.

Judge Joanna Dickens handed Paul Oliver a suspended jail sentence, meaning he will not serve a prison sentence. He was not banned from keeping or working with animals.

In her ruling, the judge said: “I think the chance of any reoccurrence is minimal. I also take into account that to disqualify them from being in control of animals would cause them to lose their current employment and any hope of future work, as this is their livelihood.”

Oliver was caught after footage of the incident emerged.

“Our view is that the judgment sent a message that you can get away with barbarity, if your job would be threatened if you were punished. “This is so clearly wrong, that it is an indictment on the justice system,” said PAL’s Andrea Matthee.

Matthee said the four fox cubs suffered horrifying and painful deaths. “What these people did, deserved a harsh punishment. Their employment and livelihoods have nothing to do with the crime they carried out,” said Matthee.

Matthee urgently called on the UK judiciary to review the judge’s decision to ensure that justice is appropriately served.

Social media users have also lashed out at the court, calling the ruling “obscenely lenient and disgraceful”. Some have even said that the decision makes a mockery of animal-welfare legislation.

Oliver used to be a master of the now-disbanded South Herefordshire Hunt, which was accused of giving hounds a taste for foxes through unethical and inhumane ways. Oliver had carried out the crime in question with kennel maid Hannah Rose, who also received a suspended sentence. During the trial, the public heard that live foxes were used to teach dogs how to kill them.

The Hunt Investigation Team, which took the footage that formed the basis of the prosecution, told The Independent: “This is not enough. This is not justice for the fox cubs. The judiciary has failed in its duty to protect wild animals.”