AN animal lover has been left devastated after he witnessed his pet cat being killed by hunting dogs in his garden.

David Clarke's rescue cat Fluffy was killed by three hounds from the Ross Harriers hunt on Saturday afternoon when they entered his garden in Kilpeck.

Mr Clarke's mum, Janet, first saw Fluffy being attacked by the dogs and rushed out to scare them away.

Mr Clarke then followed with a stick to deter the animals.

Mrs Clarke said: "I don't know how the hounds got here. They had to cross two strips of woodland, a ditch and come through a neighbour's garden."

She said Fluffy was in the house but must have panicked when he heard the noise of the dogs and jumped out of a window into the garden.

She said: "I saw the cat flying up in the air. I ran outside and David followed. The cat was pretty much dead."

Mr Clarke, 49, said Fluffy was around 10-years-old and a rescue cat. They also have three other cats which they rehomed from Hay Cat Rescue. 

Mr Clarke, who is disabled and has limited use in his right hand following a road traffic collision, claimed the dogs were not controlled by any member of Ross Harriers who were "nowhere to be seen".

He added: "Any of your readers, who are hunt supporters, just need to witness the death of our cat which was literally pulled apart and then they will hopefully change their minds."

Anna Ernsting, joint master of Ross Harriers, apologised to Mr and Mrs Clarke on Saturday and returned the following day to apologise.

She said: "The hunt was trail hunting in the area of the Clarkes’ home and had laid a scent trail through the nearby woods for the hounds to follow.

"Unfortunately a small number of the hounds strayed into the Clarkes' garden through a hole in the hedge and their cat died.

"It is very unusual for our hounds to leave the trail laid for them and we are very sorry that it happened on Saturday and for the distress this caused the family."

A police spokesman said they are investigating a report of a cat which died after it was attacked by a dog on private land on Saturday afternoon.