Police are investigating an incident in which ‘frenzied’ hounds are reported to have mauled a fox to death in a garden in front of horrified residents.
Images show the remains of the fox moments after it was reportedly killed by hounds during the Horsham Crawley Hunt in West Sussex on Saturday.
Men in red coats on horseback watched as a large dog dragged the fox through hedges and into a resident’s front garden in the village of Southwater.
The woman, who claimed hunts are held regularly on the private estate, said the huntsmen could have called the dogs off, but didn’t.
The incident happened two days after video footage emerged of a pack of savage hounds killing a fox during a Boxing Day hunt in Devon.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said: ‘All I could hear was this terrible screaming – it was just horrific, absolutely horrific.
‘I sobbed and sobbed as I can’t get the noise out of my head of the dogs barking and the screaming from the fox.’
She added: ‘I had to watch a fox be mauled to death in my garden and laid at my feet so I don’t know what more it takes to have something done about this: I have never seen anything like it.’
Around 70 people on horseback and 20 hounds participated in the event on the Dragons Estate, including children who rode ponies alongside their parents.
Many people who live on the private estate rent from the landowner directly and one claimed they are frightened of protesting against the hunt in fear of losing their homes.
Another witness said: ‘This happened on a private estate but for the first time ever there was a police presence here today, including two police cars.
‘They took all the details and watched the footage but said it is so difficult to do something about it.’
Sussex Police confirmed that an investigation has been launched.
A spokeswoman said: ‘Police responded to a report of a fox being killed by hounds in the garden of a house in Southwater.
‘An investigation has started and where offences are identified they will be fully investigated.
‘We are aware that there are other witnesses who may have footage of this incident – we encourage them and anyone who has footage of the incident to contact police.’