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(Updated 08/02/01)

Hounded fox bites hand of 'miracle' rescuer

A hunt saboteur who tried to rescue a fox being chased by hounds has been treated in hospital after the wild animal bit his hand.

Police arrested nine people after violence broke out between rival factions while the East Devon Hunt was in progress, at Dulford, near Cullompton last weekend.

A hunt spokesman says it is a miracle the anti-hunt activist succeeded in picking up a fox which had eluded two dozen hounds all morning.

At least 20 anti-hunt protesters were on the scene when violence broke out as the hunt was crossing private farm land.

Inspector Helen Creedy, of the Devon and Cornwall police, says officers from several stations in the area were called to the scene just after midday. She said the protestor bitten by the fox was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, at Wonford, for treatment.

Mal Treharne, of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Many of these protesters are very fit and follow the hunt as observers on foot. But I would have thought that anyone would know that a fox will bite if it is picked up.
“I was not present at the time but I understand the fox had run into a farm area and for whatever reason this protester was able to grab the fox. You have got to hand it to him because it is supremely difficult to get into a position where you can pick up a fox at all.

“But we were going about our business legally and were on private land we had permission to cross so these people were trespassing,” he added.