BAYING hunting hounds mauled an alpaca after straying into the wrong field, says its owner.
Part of the North Ledbury Hunt entered Rachel Simon’s field in Suckley, near Worcester, on Saturday morning.
Miss Simon and her partner were woken at 8am by hounds running amok in their field, which is home to their herd of six alpacas – like small llamas.
She said the lack of control shown over the hounds by the hunt was “disgraceful”, saying they were a threat to all pets and livestock.
The hunt had permission to go through a neighbour’s field, but the hounds jumped the fencing into Miss Simon’s instead.
She said: “Within minutes the hounds jumped our fencing and swarmed into the field.
“My alpacas all started to run and the hounds attacked them.
“They singled out one alpaca, Louis, swarmed around him and tried to bring him down.
“He had several bites to his neck and body and he has had stitches to a few nasty leg wounds.
"The dogs were running all over the fields randomly attacking the alpacas, biting them, barking and chasing them.”
At one point, Miss Simon’s partner Phil Blay levelled an air rifle at one of the hounds and shot, but missed.
Miss Simon, who produces knitted products from the herd’s wool, signalled one of the hunt’s members, who got the dogs out of the field, leaving the herd shaken.
She said: “It isn’t the dogs’ fault, but rather the people who are supposed to train and control these animals that are in the wrong.”
Hunt members went to see Miss Simon and Mr Blay later in the day, promising to cover all the vet bills and for the repair of a damaged fence.
They also bought two pairs of slippers for Mr Blay, after the hounds ran off with his footwear during the chaos.
She says the hunt’s representatives explained the hounds were young and not used to hunting but said this was “even more reason to monitor them closely and have proper control procedures in place – all quite obviously lacking”.
Val Allfrey, joint master of the hunt, said: “The North Ledbury Hunt regret the incident on Saturday and any injuries to the alpaca.
"The hunt is paying for any veterinary expenses required at the time.”
A West Mercia Police spokeswoman said officers were called but no action was required.
Britney makes a come-back
A MISSING alpaca has been found safe and sound.
It was initially thought that one-year-old Britney may have fled from a garden in Trimpley, near Bewdley, last weekend after being scared by a low-flying helicopter, but when there was no sign of her it was feared she had been stolen.
However, she had in fact panicked and run off as originally thought, as she was found in a neighbouring field on Friday, September 23.
She’s now back with her herd.