Huntsman whose dogs savaged fox in housing estate ordered to pay €1,000

19 Nov

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Leader of hunt that killed fox in garden must pay €1,000 to poor
Irish Mail on Sunday, 18th November 2018
by Craig Hughes

A huntsman whose dogs savaged a fox in a housing estate last year has been ordered to pay €1,000 to the poor box to avoid a criminal conviction.

John McSweeney was leading the hunt in Macroom, Co Cork on Stephen’s Day last year when his dogs chased a fox into a housing estate and killed it in the back garden of the home of mother-of-three Niamh Hodge.

When contacted by the Irish Mail on Sunday [MoS] after the incident, Mr McSweeney insisted his dogs didn’t kill the fox in the housing estate and claimed that the pictures of the dead fox provided to the MoS at the time were fake and had been previously circulated online.

“That picture has been used before by hunt saboteurs and it’s been taken off the internet,” he said at the time.

However, the MoS verified that the pictures were taken in Ms Hodge’s back garden and had not previously appeared online.

Last week, Mr McSweeney appeared at Macroom District Court charged under Section 9 of the Control of Dogs Act, which relates to dogs being in a place other than specified. After admitting to the offences, McSweeney was ordered to pay €1,000 to the poor box or reappear in court next month.

Ms Hodge said she was terrified when around 30 hounds chased a fox into her back garden and killed it.

She said: “I would have preferred to see him get a conviction but €1,000 is the maximum fine they could have been given under the Act.

“Hunting season has just started again. Every Sunday when you hear the dogs you get this feeling of panic. Are they going to get in again?”

The MoS phoned Mr McSweeney to ask if he wished to provide a comment for the story. However, he hung up and did not reply to text messages.


This poor fox was killed in a housing estate in Macroom, just one mile away from Agriculture Minister Michael Creed’s constituency office.

Appeal to Minister Creed to remove an exemption for foxhunting from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @creedcnw
Sign our “Ban Blood Sports in Ireland” petition
Demand an immediate ban on hunting with hounds in Ireland. Contact the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) now.

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1-6194020
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
Leave a comment on Facebook:

Tanaiste Simon Coveney TD
Iveagh House, 80 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 408 2000
Tweet to: @simoncoveney
Please contact all your local politicians and ask them to push for a ban on this blood sport. Encourage your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses

Hungry for answers after fox’s death
Irish Mail on Sunday, 7th January 2018.

The Department of Agriculture is investigating the killing of a fox allegedly attacked by a pack of hounds in a Cork housing estate on St Stephen’s Day, the Mail on Sunday can reveal.

It comes after a report in last week’s MoS which revealed that a large pack of hunting dogs chased a fox into the back garden of homeowner Niamh Hodge in Macroom, and savaged it to death.

The housing estate adjoins a field where the Macroom Foxhounds Hunt was taking place that day. Our report was followed up by RTE and radio stations in Cork, with many horrified callers condemning the killing as ‘cruel’.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture told the MoS that the department is ‘concerned’ at the incident in Macroom, which occurred in Minister Michael Creed’s constituency, and has ordered an investigation.

In a statement, the spokesman said: ‘There is a detailed code of conduct in place in respect of the hunting of foxes which places responsibility on hunting associations to ensure that hunting is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. The department is aware of and concerned at the reported incident in Macroom and is investigating the matter.’

Gardai have begun a separate investigation following a complaint from Niamh Hodge.

But huntsman John McSweeney, who denies that their dogs killed the fox, refused to comment on the controversy this weekend.

by Niamh Walsh

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