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Two Men Jailed for Trapping A Fox In Its Lair

February 1, 1989

BIRKENHEAD, England (AP) _ In the first successful prosecution of its kind in Britain, two men were sentenced to a month in jail for causing a fox to suffocate after trapping it in its lair.

Some spectators applauded after Barry Pruden, 27, and Stephen Horton, 27, were sentenced Tuesday by magistrates in this north central city near Liverpool. Pruden and Horton, both of Liverpool, were also banned for two years from keeping any animal.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, which filed the complaint against the two men, argued that the fox was made captive when the men blocked two holes to its lair. The two were found guilty on Jan. 3 of causing unnecessary suffering to a captive fox.

It was the first time anyone was found convicted of such a crime, despite years of anti-fox hunting efforts by animal rights activists.

Animal rights groups have battled for years to disrupt ″blood″ sports such as fox hunting. They have laid false trails for hounds, bought grounds used for deer hunts. Once, two men desecrated the grave of England’s greatest fox hunter, the Duke of Beaufort.

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