TERRIFIED Tetbury residents have reported the Beaufort Hunt to police after a pack of hounds ran through the town centre on Monday.
Resident Peter Martin saw the hunt come right past his house on Longfurlong Lane and said it was “completely unacceptable” for such an activity to take place in a residential area. He claims the pack had been chasing a fox at the time and followed it onto Bath Road and up to St Mary’s Church. The hunt said this week they had been trail hunting at the time.
“I was on the phone looking out the window and saw a fox legging it past my gate closely followed by a pack of hounds thundering down the road,” Mr Martin said.
“I spoke to a lady who had seen them soon after by St Mary’s Church. They had gone all the way into town. She said she had been absolutely terrified.”
Fox hunting as a sport was banned in England in 2004 and made illegal in 2005. Police confirmed that they had received a report of the incident and was investigating.
Mr Martin said most people were not prepared to report the hunt.
“People should be free to say they do not agree with the hunt, but they are afraid of being bullied,” he said. “I spoke to a clearly frightened, distressed woman who had seen the hunt, but she didn’t want to leave her name,” he said.
Jamie Smith, owner of Bath Bridge Barbers, said: “As I was walking out to get our sign at the top of the street, I had to get out the way.
“There were about 15 dogs at least.”
Another Bath Road resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said she saw the hounds jump over her garden wall.
“They leapt into my garden from the field and then ran into the road. I’m surprised they didn’t get run over. I was quite frightened for them,” she said.
Not everyone was upset by the incident.
Brian Edge at Café Edge said it had been “a wonderful sight” with about 28 hounds in the centre of town.
“It was a bit of a commotion, but the riders had it under control,” he said.
“People here are used to the hounds coming through and I even heard tourists say they thought it was wonderful to see.”
Next door, Filly’s clothes shop owner Sue Ferguson has been a member of the Beaufort Hunt for over 20 years.
“I don’t hunt any more, but I’m a social member,” said Sue. “I thought it was fantastic seeing the hunt in town and lovely seeing people com - ing out of shops to watch.
“The hounds were as good as gold and nobody looked scared of them. There was certainly no fox in the High Street and the hunt would never chase one intentionally.”
A spokesman for Beaufort Hunt confirmed the hounds had run loose in the centre of Tetbury, but were quickly rounded up.
“It seems some hunt staff were delayed by unexpected wire but soon caught up with the hounds and collected them all,” she explained.