Hounds of the North Shropshire hunt must be put on leads when they are on roads.

The barmy move was agreed at a meeting of Shrewsbury and Altcham Borough Council on Tuesday, 13 February, after a mischievous councillor asked how the council’s new dog control orders applied to hounds.

In common with councils around the country, Shrewsbury has passed a by-law that all dogs must be on leads on public roads under Section 55 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

And under the letter of the law it applies to hounds.

However, the councillor responsible for the by-law, Judith Williams, herself a keen foot-follower of the North and South Shropshire hunts, says the regulation was not meant to include hunting dogs.

“He asked if the law applies to hounds and yes as it stands it does but obviously there should be an exemption for hunting dogs, and I will bring it up in council,” she said.

“I suggested that, if people wanted to go out untangling dog leads from around horses’ legs, then they were welcome to do so, but the discussion was all very light-hearted.”

However, if taken seriously, this by-law would severely restrict the North Shropshire hunt, which meets at the livestock market in Shrewsbury on Boxing Day.

Joint-master Anne Carding did not want to discuss the matter, but Brian Fanshawe of the Council of Hunting Associations said he suggested the hunt carries on as usual.

“We are not suggesting that the North Shropshire keeps hounds on leads on the road — I think everyone would fall over if they did that,” he said.

“We have asked for legal advice as to whether the council can do this, but I think this ridiculous decision is just an example of political point-scoring at the council.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (28 February, ’08)