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Huntsman accused of cruelty

A KENNEL huntsman in charge of over 100 dogs is on trial accused of animal cruelty.
Philip Simmonds, who is responsible for the welfare of hunting dogs at The Kennels in Cambridge Road, Barton, is alleged to have stitched a gaping wound on a beagle's leg without giving the dog a local anaesthetic.

The 51-year-old, described as an experienced kennelman, is also accused of illegally carrying out the procedure - which should only be performed by a vet unless in an emergency - and two charges of failing to provide appropriate veterinary care for the animal.

Simmonds faces another claim that he caused a second beagle unnecessary suffering by delaying having it put down when it was terminally ill with kidney failure and heart problems.
A sixth allegation relates to a third dog - a mink hound - which he is said to have caused to suffer by failing to have it treated for chronic ear problems.

Simmonds denies all six charges.

Cambridge magistrates were told Simmonds was charged with the animal cruelty offences after he was reported to the RSPCA by Fiona Wolstenholme, who helped out at the kennels exercising some of the dogs and who had become "increasingly concerned" about animal welfare issues there.

Ms Wolstenholme is involved in Cambridge University Drag Hounds, whose dogs are kept at the kennels, and after exercising some of the hounds there last November, was asked by Simmonds to restrain a beagle while he stitched a six inch leg wound it had suffered in a fight, the court heard.