A pair of hounds from Prince Charles’ favourite hunt were killed in what the Beaufort Hunt has described as a tragic accident.
A spokesperson for the hunt also apologised for any inconvenience caused by the incident.
Statement from a spokesperson from the Beaufort Hunt: “The Beaufort Hunt were trail-hunting on Saturday, 18th January, when it became apparent that a few hounds had deviated from the trail that they were following and managed to get through some temporary fencing alongside the railway. The hunt staff and hunt officials endeavoured to retrieve the hounds as quickly as possible, however two hounds were tragically struck by a train.
“There were no other injuries and we are grateful to the train driver for his support during this difficult time. We also want to apologise to anybody whose journey may have been delayed as a result of this incident.
“Those who care for the hounds on a daily basis are naturally very distressed, as would anybody be who has previously had to deal with a loss of their own pet. The hounds are the absolute priority for our staff and to lose them in this manner is devastating.
“The Hunt will, of course, fully cooperate with British Transport Police regarding this matter.”
A spokesperson for the British Transport Police said: “At 1.34pm on 18 January, officers were called to the railway near Alderton following a report that a train had struck dogs on the line. Officers attended and following enquiries, it is believed that two dogs had been struck and killed by a train. Enquiries continue in relation to this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 238 of 18/01.”
Cirencester Illegal Hunt Watch, which follows the pack, said: “They are brazenly chasing foxes as usual, we had information that they were on cry, following fox, just before the incident.
“If they were genuinely following an artificial scent, why would they run amok across a train track, putting the safety of commuters and animals at risk all for the sake of a thrill?”