Kimblewick Hunt: Men released trapped fox 'into the path of a hunt'
Two men have been convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to a fox after they pulled it from a tunnel and released it "into the path of a hunt".
Oxford Magistrates' Court was shown covert footage of one man using drainage rods to move the animal and the other pull it out by its tail.
A pack of hounds involved in the New Year's Day hunt arrived in the woodland in Moreton near Thame, moments later.
Ian Parkinson, 65, and Mark Vincent, 53, will be sentenced on 26 November.
District Judge Kamlesh Rana said the fox was "trapped in the earth and was faced with drainage rods at one end and humans at the other" .
She said the defendants' actions on 1 January were "deliberate and pre-mediated" and added the offence crossed the custody threshold.
Prosecutor Peter Rymon said the men, who were employed in the Kimblewick Hunt, had "clearly placed" the fox "in the path of a hunt at the time the hunt was arriving".
"The rodding caused it unnecessary suffering and pulling it out by the tail enhanced that," he added.
Mr Rymon said animals rendered "under the control of man" had "enhanced rights and those rights are the person in control of it should not cause unnecessary suffering".
Veterinary surgeon David Martin said pulling a fox by its tail could have "serious effects" on the animal would "cause injury to it that way".
Both defendants denied the charge but neither gave evidence.
Stephen Lomax, a witness for the defence, suggested the fox had been pulled out by its hind legs and tail and would have been "adequately supported".
The veterinary surgeon added he "didn't believe" it was "possible to cause suffering" to a fox by pushing the drainage rods down the tunnel.
Parkinson, of Lower Road, Haddenham, and Vincent, of Kimblewick, Aylesbury, were found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.