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(Updated 8/7/01)

Kennel raid hunt on road to recovery

A BEAGLE pack that anti-hunt extremists tried to destroy by stealing most of the hounds has been revived with the birth of puppies sired by one of the stolen animals.

Wye Valley College Hunt’s kennels near Ashford in Kent were raided by Animal Liberation Front Activists in early January. They stole 47 hounds as part of an ongoing “direct action” campaign to stop hunting in the Kent area.

Only one of the stolen dogs was recovered some weeks later in Bristol. Police arrested unemployed Julian Greensides, 34, from Stockwood, Bristol and charged him with the theft of the dog, named Sextant.

His alleged ‘owner’ had taken him to a veterinary surgery, but the veterinary surgeon became suspicious when he noticed that a clumsy attempt had been made to alter the dog’s ear tattoo.

The police were called and arrested Greensides. It transpired that the dog had been castrated since his seizure. It is believed that Sextant had been taken to the vet to be treated for damage to his ear caused by whoever had attempted to alter his tattoo.

Hunt secretary Will Denne said: “We are very pleased to get Sextant back, he was one of our prized hounds and for our jubilee year in 1997 he was used as the model for a bronze sculpture.”

Reward

The hunt offered a £5,000 reward through the police to get all their beagles back and catch those responsible. However, despite ALF claims that all had been found new, caring homes, it seems likely that the remaining dogs have all been destroyed.

However, in a twist of fate bound to humiliate the extremists, the kennel’s pack will soon be back at full strength. Even though Sextant was castrated, seven of his offspring survived because, at the time of the raid, they were not at the kennels but in the care of walkers.

When the hunting season resumes in October, the seven will make up almost a sixth of the new Wye Valley pack. Other hunts from around the country have donated hounds from their own packs to help the Wye pack return to full strength.

Wendy Peckham, a member of the Wye committee declared defiantly; “Fifty years of careful breeding had gone into the hounds that were stolen. Although Sextant can no longer be used for breeding, his puppies will carry the bloodlines for future generations of hunting Beagles.

“Sextant in fact, is becoming quite a celebrity. When he trotted into the ring at our puppy show earlier this month, he was met by loud applause. He and his puppies are symbol of triumph over adversity. It was an emotional moment.”