Hunt claims pet cat’s body may have been taken to ‘lessen owners’ distress’

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The master of a hunting party whose hounds killed an 18-year-old family cat claims the tabby’s body may have been taken after the attack to “lessen the distress” for the pet’s owners.

Moppet was killed after 27 hunting dogs bounded onto her owners’ land in Ravenscar, North Yorkshire.

But instead of leaving Moppet’s body, a huntsman rode off with the cat, which was only returned two days later after a devastated Les and Margaret Atkinson confronted members of the joint Staintondale and Goathland expedition.

Bill Dobson, chairman of Goathland Hunt, said: “We aren’t barbaric, we don’t set out to cause problems for people. This is a very unfortunate thing and it’s regrettable that the dogs set upon the cat.

“I was on the hunt but not present when the attack happened, so I have no idea why the huntsmen would have taken the cat away. It might have been to cause less distress to the family.”

Jean Clemmit, Staintondale hunt master, said the event had been a legal trail hunt and confirmed the Goathland party had removed Moppet’s body from the scene. She said: “I wasn’t on the hunt that day but as soon as I became aware of the situation I made sure the cat was returned to the Atkinsons.”