For Arrow, the Ross Harriers Hound

This weekend, Arrow, a hound belonging to the Ross Harriers was killed by a lorry on the A40. Two sets of videos have emerged, with the hunt stating that the hounds were lured onto the road by saboteurs using recordings of a hunting horn, and Three Counties Hunt Saboteurs saying that the hounds had been on and off the road all day.

I’m going to get into this story in more detail, but first of all let’s remember that a hound died in a horrific way. Hounds are the most wonderful animals, and its worth remembering that behind the mud- slinging and frenzied threats (on both sides) there is an animal- a hound that would have had a name and a character and a story- that is now dead.

At agricultural shows and game fairs up and down the country hound parades are followed by an invitation for children to join the dismounted huntsman and his hounds in the main ring. What other breed of dog, en masse and unrestricted, would parents allow to surround their children? A close encounter with a hound will be a bit smelly, but is a wonderful experience for children long accustomed to being wary of dogs.

Last night my new housemate showed me a video he had recorded on his phone. While driving to work he had come across a local hunt on hound exercise (not my hunt) and he had filmed the hounds surrounding his stationary car and streaming down the road. He has no involvement with country sports of any sort but was beaming as he described the encounter; and then added that he had spoken to a hunting relative and was amazed that each and every hound had a name.

While we remember this dead hound let’s not think of its bitter end on the A40, but of the children it licked, the music it sang and the smile it raised (from mounted field, foot followers and commuting drivers) as it went about its vocation of hunting.

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A hound (not Arrow) photographed by the author at the Croome and West Warwickshire puppy show 2015.

One thing that struck me as I read through the comments on social media posts about the incident (like the comments on ISIS news reports by Britain First supporters, no matter how sickened I am I feel a compulsion to keep reading) was that not one sab supporter- convinced animal lovers as they are- paused to write that they were sorry about the fate of this hound. Not one stopped to state (even amidst denying their involvement) that they were sorry that a hound had died.

If there are now any such comments then I would like to read them; it would boost my faith in humanity.

Instead anti- hunting commenters immediately brought up every instance in the past century where a hound has potentially been mistreated by a hunt, every single video of mounted followers approaching sabs at speed, and claimed repeatedly that hunt staff dislike hounds and mistreat them.

Back in Wales there is a gun pack, and occasionally they have hounds that are gun shy and therefore unsuited to following guns. If sab logic were to be followed then these hounds would be swiftly executed (after all, foot packs have easy access to firearms). In truth they are drafted to a local mounted pack, and live out their days in the relative quiet of a non- gun pack (not to mention away from the chat of the men and boys who follow the hunt- I have the honour of being the first and only lady gun to join them).

Hounds are treated with a care and respect, often bordering on reverence, that is absent from the lives of so many domestic dogs. The sabs claims that they lead lives blighted by cruelty and a lack of care are ludicrous.

Going back to the case of the Ross Harriers’ Arrow; the Hunt Saboteurs Association appear to have given a “gizmo” (some sort of electronic device that plays a recording of a hunting horn) to each and every affiliated saboteur group, with the intention of drawing hounds away from the huntsman.

The HSA has to realise that some of its members are of the dangerous sort that will put hounds, motorists and riders in peril in order to prove their points. As such arming stab groups with such an instrument can only be seen as a rather stupid decision.

However anyone involved in hunting learnt long ago that many saboteurs are not there because of their love of animals.

And if we needed to prove a point? The aforementioned Welsh foot pack has never had a problem with saboteurs. When the field is made up of camouflage- wearing men with Valleys accents and heavy boots the foxes can take care of themselves.

9 thoughts on “For Arrow, the Ross Harriers Hound

  1. Strong, sound and logical piece of reporting,valid points raised in a non political way, the truth will out, sabs are only rent a mob under another hat with no regard or respect for people or animals

  2. Plenty of comments re: the hound, diluted and lost within the arguments. Only one set of videos has emerged and that is from our side. The other is a rumour that a video exists. When we’re backed up against a wall with violent threats coming at us, it’s hard to write a normal report which would have been along the lines of ‘today a hound was sadly killed on the road… hunt hunted a fox near to Nick Valentine’s, hounds all over road, convicted terriermen spotted near hunt’. Hundreds of comments from both sides, wish we could’ve just done a normal report

  3. Very well said. This was horrendous and no matter how much the scabs deny it sorry I don’t believe them. They are scum and should be outcast and fined if not jailed, but the why should we have to feed them, let them starve I say. They are not animal lovers they are sick in the head. Poor poor Arrow, rest in peace sweetie.

  4. lovely piece of writing and also true, I own hounds however dont hunt and have had some run ins with sabs, they try and get a rise out of us however, many of the points explained by you so many just dont get.

  5. Sadly those of us with memories longer than a goldfish! Can remember the sabs luring the new forest foxhounds across the electrified railway with the result that several hounds were killed? Or the ecclesfield beagles that were stolen from their kennels and many were killed by these so called animal lovers! The list is sadly long and until the police do their duty without favour to either side this kind of tragic incident will continue to happen. I have been involved with hounds and hunting for 40 years and I love my hounds with a passion and care that no anti can or will ever understand. If the police do not step in soon then inevitably hunt supporters will take the law into their own hands. Do I want this no I do not but I deal in reality and that is what will happen. My heart goes out to the huntsman and the hounds connections at the Ross Harriers.

  6. Hunters see their hounds as commodities and put them down when they lose their usefulness. Hunt Sabs care for all animals and often treat the hunt hounds better than the illegal hunters. Arrow was killed because his pack was obviously out of control near a busy road, which happens all the time.

  7. Interesting that the article states that there are no comments from the anti hunt lobby about the sad loss of the hound, I have read many comments on anti hunt Facebook groups that are quite the contrary, but with added vitriol toward the hunts. Perhaps you’re selective in your reading? I also run a Facebook group for both anti and pro hunt folk to talk to each other respectfully, and it is quite successful, but it’s recently been infiltrated by a few from the pro hunt fraternity who have joined with the sole intention of mud slinging over the incident, accusing innocent members of luring hounds into the road, thus tarring all of the anti hunt lobby with the same brush. Not all anti hunting folk are sabs! It seems there’s plenty of thuggish behaviour from both sides of the fence, as you rightly pointed out in the article. Such a shame.

  8. Of course Sabs are very distressed by the unnecessary death of the hound and any hound that ends up wandering on the road or railway track and loses it’s life. Sabs are inevitably distressed by the death of any animal. Sabs are also distressed by the insistence of the hunts that it is always our fault via the use of gizmos! I have seen hounds (and flushed deer) on the main roads when we have been driving along and not in possession of a gizmo or hunting horn! However, I will say that most of us are trained to use these items only when absolutely safe to do so. If the hunt were hunting legally, this is unlikely to have happened. Trails would surely aim to keep hounds away from roads and tracks? Stop blaming us. If you hunted legally, we would stay home and this would not have happened.

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