Hereford & Worcester

South Herefordshire hound 'probably gave fox cub a bite'

Paul Oliver and Hannah Rose at Birmingham Magistrates' Court in August 2018 Image copyright PA
Image caption Paul Oliver and Hannah Rose deny four charges animal cruelty

A huntsman accused of animal cruelty killed two fox cubs with the blunt end of an axe ahead of a government inspection, a court has heard.

Paul Oliver, 40, denies he "fed" the cubs to hounds, saying their bodies were picked up by a dog.

He told Birmingham Magistrates Court the hound "probably gave [the cubs] a bite", causing extensive injuries.

Terrierman Nathan Parry and kennel maid Hannah Rose also deny four counts of causing unnecessary animal suffering.

Mr Oliver said he intended to rehome four fox cubs taken to the South Herefordshire hunt's site in Wormelow, but "didn't think it was right to have them on the property" ahead of a Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs inspection in May 2016.

"I decided to get rid of them and kill them," he said, using an axe in a "flesh house" at the site.

Two were rehomed in woodland as they did not need to die, he said.

When asked why one cub had 14 broken ribs and no head injury and the other had 23 broken ribs, Mr Oliver said it was probably down to bites from a hound.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The hunt's terrierman Nathan Parry is also on trial at Birmingham Magistrates Court

He was recorded by a covert camera - placed at the kennels by an anti-bloodsports group - dumping fox carcasses in a bin.

Prosecutors allege Mr Oliver, the former master of hounds, was using cubs to "blood" the dogs.

He told the court he trained them using an aniseed-based scent and the dogs "had no idea what a fox was".

Mr Oliver and his partner Ms Rose, 30, of Sutton Crosses, near Spalding, Lincolnshire, are on trial alongside Mr Parry, of Brynarw estate near Abergavenny, south Wales.

The trial continues.

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