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A warning has been put out for Irish hunts to be on their guard after a spate of thefts of hunting dogs in Co Cork.

More than 35 terriers and hounds have been stolen over the past three weeks, including 10 hounds from the oldest beagle pack in Ireland, the Riverstown Foot Beagles.

Dickie Power, of the Hunting Association of Ireland, said at least 25 working terriers have been stolen as well as the three bitches and seven dogs from the Riverstown’s Glanmire kennels.

“We are warning packs to be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour,” said Mr Power.

It is the second time in three years that beagles have been stolen from the Riverstown. Five bitches and two dogs were stolen in November 2008.

Riverstown assistant huntsman Richard Daly told H&H: “We lost nearly all our breeding bitches last time and had a hard time building the pack back up again and we have lost our bitches again.”

He said the pack hunted on 16 October. The next day when he went to the kennels, there was a big hole in the fencing and 10 hounds were missing.

One bitch was found by a farmer later that day but there has been no sign of the others since.

“It’s soul destroying. We had only just replaced all the fencing but there is no way to keep them out,” said Mr Daly.

Glanmire Gardai confirmed it was investigating.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse and Hound (3 November, 2011)