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Richard Down, huntsman for the Quantock Staghounds was convicted at Taunton Magistrates Court, Somerset, of an offence under the Hunting Act 2004. He is the first huntsman to be convicted twice under the Act. The offence took place in September 2009 and was filmed by an investigator from the League Against Cruel Sports. Down claimed to be using the Rescue of a Wild Mammal exemption and had hunted a stag to relieve its suffering after being alerted the evening before that there was a stag on a local farmer’s land with a broken hip. Under the exemption only two dogs can be used to hunt an injured wild mammal which must be shot as soon as possible after being found to relieve its suffering. The League provided video footage showing the stag running across Longstone Hill on the Quantock Hills being pursued by three hounds. Prosecutor Kerry Barker told the court that the chase caused the stag “great distress” and District Judge Martin Brown said that Down was “in control of the hounds and could have call them back”.

Down was fined £375 and had to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £2,530 costs.

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