Disturbing footage of a fox being mauled by a pack of hounds in Cheshire has been shared online – sparking a police investigation.
An anti fox hunting group say they filmed the video in Beeston on Saturday (February 4).
The gruesome footage, which was posted to the group’s Facebook page, appears to show a pack of hounds tearing up a fox as protesters attempt to pull them away.
“The poor vixen stood no chance of escape in such deep water surrounded by a pack of bloodthirsty hounds tearing at her dainty body,” a statement from the group read.
“We tried our utmost best to save her but it was too late.”
Another video, posted on Facebook by a different group, shows the same fox’s body on the ground after the attack with huntspeople standing around it.
A voice can be heard saying: “You should be utterly ashamed. How can you do that? How can you be a part of that?”
A ban on hunting foxes and other wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales was implemented in the Hunting Act 2004.
Cheshire Constabulary released a statement on Monday (February 6) confirming that rural and wildlife trained officers are looking into the allegations.
“It is not a police matter to determine what is or is not hunting, this can only be determined in court,” it read.
“The role of the police is to investigate alleged or apparent breaches of the Hunting Act, to gather evidence, and to pass that evidence to the appropriate authority to consider prosecution.
“Our investigation is in the early stages and we will do our best to update you on our progress.”
Police are asking for witnesses to the incident or people with footage of the attack to come forward.
“If you were there and took any footage on your phone or video camera at the time, we will arrange with you to come and collect a hard copy," a statement from the force added.
“In particular if you were there and took the original footage that is currently circulating on social media, I would ask you to contact police so that we can arrange to collect it.
“We will continue to update you on our investigation, but I’d like to reassure you that we do take rural crime seriously.
“If an illegal hunt was found to have taken place we would prepare a file for CPS to consider any relevant criminal charges.”
Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting incident number 297 of February 4, 2017.