THE Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association (IMFHA) has suspended the Avondhu Foxhounds of Co Cork and the Ormond, of Co Tipperary after allegations of maltreatment of a fox.

Hunting bosses met at the weekend to discuss the alleged behaviour of members of the Avondhu Foxhounds during a joint meet with the Coniston, a Fell pack visiting from Cumbria, and the Ormond at Fermoy on 8 March.

But no decision over disciplinary action had been made as H&H went to press on Monday.

Brian Munn, spokesman for the IMFHA, told H&H: “The committee has met but the issue is not entirely resolved.”

Mr Munn said the allegations had come from within the Avondhu Hunt.

“We were informed by a member of the hunt that other members of the hunt did something they disapproved of,” said Mr Munn. He would not elaborate further on the allegations, except to say that he believes only the Avondhu was involved in the alleged cruelty.

He said the IMFHA took the allegations very seriously and would punish those involved if they were proved to be true.

“Both hunts are suspended from any hunting activity for the duration of the investigation — although the hunting season is due to end this weekend,” he said.

“But the suspension could take them into the new season, there could be fines and people could be expelled.”

No one was available for comment from the Avondhu.

Stephen Lambert, director of the MFHA in the UK said although the Coniston was not involved in the alleged misbehaviour his organisation and the IMFHA would draw up a protocol to cover the behaviour of packs while visiting abroad.

Mr Munn said they welcomed the initiative.