A WOMAN was savagely attacked by a terrier accompanying the Isle of Wight Hunt, while walking through the Gatcombe countryside.

She came across the hunt exercising around 30 hounds, which she said was 'massively intimidating' in itself.

A terrier with the group bit her several times on her thigh, and several of the hounds turned on her pet sprocker spaniel, causing an injury that needed stitches and fluid drainage.

The family, who chose to remain anonymous, contacted the County Press because they feel despite going to the police, four weeks on, nothing has been done, and there is a danger to the public.

The IW Hunt has apologised unreservedly for the incident.

The woman's husband said: "The police told us not to go to the press, and asked us how we would feel if the terrier had to be put down.

"But we feel it would be worse if we kept quiet and the dog attacked again.

"It went for my wife's thigh, but this is the same height as a child's neck or face would be, which could be deadly. This could have happened to anyone.

"We have heard of people who no longer walk in the area because of the hunt, and one running group has changed its route because of it.

"This is a loss of amenity to the community if people feel they can no longer use the local area.

"We are not new to the countryside, we have walked through the Gatcombe and Carisbrooke area twice weekly for 20 years, but this is a new move for the hunt, to walk such a big pack of dogs.

"It is not right for them to do this, especially in light of what happened to us."

A spokesperson from the IW Hunt said: “An incident took place between the owner of a spaniel and a terrier that was accompanying the pack of hounds while they were out on routine hound exercise.

"Although incidents of this nature are incredibly rare, they are regrettable whatever the circumstances, and steps have been taken to prevent any reoccurrences.

"The hunt apologises unreservedly for any distress this may have caused and is working to resolve the matter with those involved to ensure a good relationship in the future.”

An IW Police spokesperson said: "A thorough investigation is ongoing and both parties have been updated regularly.

"Officers are working towards a resolution and a those involved will be updated once a decision has been reached."

The police were unable to comment on the family's claim that they were told not to go to the media with the story.

Polly Portwin, head of hunting at the Countryside Alliance, said: "Hounds are routinely introduced to children, adults, pets, and farm animals as well as the other sights, smells and sounds in the countryside as part of their early education before they start their working lives and to ensure they are familiar with whatever they encounter in the future.

"Professional members of hunt staff take great pride in the management of their hounds and any other animals in their care, and are delighted to introduce their hounds to the public at any opportunity with most hunts holding a kennels open day each summer.

"At the invitation of the organisers of public events all over the country, packs of hounds can also be seen throughout the summer parading at county shows and other activities where they always prove very popular.”

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