Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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Case Against Lamerton Foxhounds Collapses in Court

Charges of illegal hunting brought against six members of the Lamerton Foxhounds in Devon (UK) by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) collapsed in court. The LACS dropped all charges when a previously undisclosed relationship between the League and one of its key witnesses was discovered.

Expert witness Stephen Harris, professor of environmental sciences at Bristol University, had failed to disclose connections with the League’s head of operations Paul Tillsley.

The case was a private prosecution brought by LACS and supported by evidence collected by that organization’s own “investigative officers.” LACS initiated the case privately because the police had determined earlier that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner said: “This appalling case raises a series of fundamental questions about the abuse of the criminal justice system.”

Bonner accused the LACS of spending more than £100,000 of its contributors’ money on a “vindictive” prosecution that police had earlier judged not to reach the standard required of a proper prosecution.

LACS dropped all charges against defendants Joint-Master George Moyse, huntsman David Lewis, whipper-in Steve Craddock, and terrier men Wayne Bartlett, Gilmore Lewis, and Stephen Mitchell. The six had denied the charges from the start.

Click for the complete story in the Western Morning News.

Posted December 17, 2015

Lamerton Foxhounds Accused of Illegal Hunting in Britain

Six men affiliated with the Lamerton Foxhounds in Devon, near Okehampton, will stand trial, accused of illegally hunting a fox with hounds in contravention of the Hunting Act of 2004.

Defendants are Joint-Master George Moyse, huntsman David Lewis, whipper-in Steve Craddock, and terrier men Wayne Bartlett, Gilmore Lewis, and Stephen Mitchell. The six deny the charges.

This is another private prosecution brought to the courts by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). The evidence is based on film recordings made by LACS “investigative officers.”

Click for the full text of David Wells’s article in the Western Morning News.

Posted December 11, 2015

Horses in NYC: Mayor Against, Police Commissioner For

The Mayor
In 2013, mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio promised if elected to remove all horse-drawn carriages from the streets of New York “on Day-One” of his administration. As mayor, he has not yet been able to make good on that promise, despite having benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by an animal rights lobby group to a political action committee formed by the group to politically destroy his strongest campaign rival, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

The PAC did their business under the name, “Anybody But Quinn.” Despite the fact that Quinn was leading in the polls at the time, her refusal to back the animal rights agenda of banning the carriage horses devastated her campaign. The animal rights lobbying group that financed the PAC was later fined for violating campaign finance rules.

Fast-forward two years and de Blasio is still trying, but has reduced his ambitions. His latest attempt, recently announced as a compromise proposal, is to ban horse carriages from the city’s streets and confine them to Central Park only. The mayor’s plan would eliminate two-thirds of the horses and move the remaing third—seventy to eighty horses—to new stabling within Central Park.

That brings us to the other faction that wants the horse carriages to disappear—hungry real estate developers. Seeing money to be made in developing the current horse stabling premises right there in the heart of the city, real estate developers also contributed large donations to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign under the guise of animal rights. It would appear that the mayor’s new compromise proposal would fully satisfy that group by freeing up the real estate for development.

The carriage drivers? They say, No way. That will destroy our industry.

The Police Commissioner
Meanwhile, on another city front, nationally-respected NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton sees value in horses on the streets, according to CBS News.

With the city still on high alert as a result of recent terrorist activities in Europe, the NYPD ramped up security for the huge annual Thanksgiving Day Parade by deploying police on horseback as a prominent adjuct to the overall effort. While many security measures are meant to blend in on the streets, officers on horseback—also known as “ten-foot cops”—are highly visible and are able to quickly and clearly communicate with crowds in an emergency.

Ironically, as the Mayor’s office tries to remove horses from the city’s streets, New York remains one of the few cities in the country where police horses continue on active duty. In fact, the NYPD just recently unveiled a new thirty-million dollar state-of-the-art facility for their elite mounted squad on the west side where a short trot will bring them to busy sites like Times Square, Penn Station, and Central Park. According to Deputy Inspector Barry Gelbman, “[Horses are] one of the greatest tools we have."

Posted November 27, 2015

Carol Easter, MFH, Farmington Hunt (1938–2015)

Mrs. Peter (Carol) Easter, MFH for twenty years of the Farmington Hunt, Charlottesville, Virginia, passed away on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, after a battle with lung disease.

Carol served the MFHA from 2006–2012 as District Director of the Virginia District. In addition to foxhunting, she competed in horse shows. She became active in long distance trail riding, winning several 50- and 100-mile rides sponsored by the Virginia Trail Riders, Inc., which organization she served as president for more than twenty years.

Carol was a devoted Labrador Retriever owner for more than fifty years and trained her two dogs, Bagel and Triscuit, to become Therapy Dogs. Carol and her dogs voluntarily visited patients at Charlottesville’s Martha Jefferson Hospital for many years.

She is survived by her husband of fifty-six years, Peter Easter; her children, Deborah Easter of Charlottesville, Douglas Easter and his wife Page of Charlottesville, and Brooke Maley and her husband, Dave, of Chattanooga, Tennessee; and her grandchildren, Owen and Elly Easter of Charlottesville, and Will and Emily Maley of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

A memorial service and reception in Carol’s honor will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, December 19, 2015, at the Easters’ Springhaven Farm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the MFHA’s Hunt Staff Foundation, which provides grants to retired professional huntsmen in financial need. Mail donations to MFHA, Box 363, Millwood, VA 22646. Donations may also be made to Therapy Dogs International, 88 Bartley Road, Flanders, NJ 07836.

Click to send condolences to the family.

Posted November 18, 2015

Hunt Members, Family Stunned by Murder of Senior Master’s Wife

Members of the Golden’s Bridge Hounds and the entire community of North Salem, New York, are shocked and in mourning over the slaying of Lois Colley, wife of senior Master Gene Colley and mother of Bruce Colley, MFH. She was found dead in her home on Monday, November 9.

Police believe that Mrs. Colley was bludgeoned to death by a small fire extinguisher, the only object missing from the house. They have asked for help from the community in their search for the suspected murder weapon and other information, but beyond that have not identified a suspect. For a fuller account, see Lisa Foderaro’s article in the New York Times.

Lois Colley was warmly regarded by the community, and was a regular presence at hunt meets, many of which were held at the Colley’s Windswept Farm. She was recently featured in a photograph in Foxhunting Life along with her husband and the Golden’s Bridge mounted field in front of the house.

We extend our sincere sympathies to the Colley family at this terrible time.

Posted November 12, 2015