‘I was so proud of them’: Peterborough show ring success for basset hounds after theft ordeal

  • Two basset hounds who were stolen in February have enjoyed success in the show ring months after they were reunited with their pack.

    Westerby Drama made a winning debut at the Festival of Hunting when she was awarded best unentered bitch in the basset hound ring on 21 July at the East of England Showground. Lattice finished third in the entered bitch hound class.

    The pair were among the two and a half couple of hounds stolen in February. The hounds were found following a social media campaign involving the help of Beauty’s Legacy, a voluntary group that uses social media to reunite lost and found animals with their owners.

    After a sighting of one of the bassets, representatives from the group liaised with Leicestershire and Greater Manchester Police, which ended with all five hounds being found and returned.

    Kennel huntsman Sophie Cripps was heavily involved in the search for the basset hounds after they were stolen, with “every waking hour committed to finding them”.

    “Having had time to settle them back into the kennels routine, we decided to take a couple of the bitches to compete at the Festival of Hunting,” said Sophie.

    “I was not sure how they would react to the show ring and a different environment, however, they showed beautifully and I was so proud of them.

    “It was quite an emotional drive home when we thought back to four months ago when we were sick with worry for them, to having them bounding around the show ring at Peterborough and coming away with some silverware – it was incredibly special.”

    Polly Portwin, the Countryside Alliance’s director of the campaign for hunting, added: “Seeing the bassets relaxed and clearly relishing the showing environment is testament to all the hard work and devotion of those involved in the search, recovery and subsequent transition of the hounds back into kennel life.

    “Hunt staff strive to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare in kennels at all times and it is great to see this dedication has, in this instance, enabled hounds that have had a traumatic experience to thrive back in their own environment.”

    • What are your favourite memories of the Festival of Hunting? Send your thoughts to hhletters@futurenet.com, including your name, nearest town and country, and you could win a bottle of Champagne Taittinger

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