ANIMAL lovers are campaigning to stop hunters from letting their dogs kill foxes and rabbits in Batley woodland.
Landowner and chairwoman of Batley Civic Society Ann Dickinson is heading the campaign after she saw dog tracks, in a pattern which she recognised as hunting, in the woods near where she lives.
People living near the woods – which she doesn't want identifying for fear of more hunters – have also seen demolished fox dens and rabbit warrens, which Mrs Dickinson believes to be caused by hunting dogs.
She said: "A couple of years ago we found someone in the woods hunting so I know what the evidence looks like.
"We are in an urban area and we should be protecting the woodland and the animals that live there.
"This isn't North Yorkshire, this is Batley, and it doesn't give people a good impression of the town."
The society members are looking for volunteers to help protect the woodland and are also calling for a local company to donate security fencing to keep the dogs out.
Coun Gwen Lowe, who is supporting the campaign, said: "I was appalled and sickened to hear that fox hunting is taking place around here. I think it is a barbaric activity which serves no real purpose other than to feed the appetites of some very cruel and despicable people.
"Furthermore it is strictly illegal.
"I will be calling on the police to investigate this apparent flouting of the law and flush out these people who take perverse pleasure in the killing of wild animals."
Hunting with dogs is illegal under the 2004 Hunting Act and carries a fine of up to 5,000 with possible confiscation of dogs or vehicles.