TWO MEN have appeared in court charged over causing 'unnecessary suffering' to a fox which was pulled from the ground by its tail and released for the hounds of Kimblewick Hunt.

Ian Parkinson, 64, of Lower Road, Haddenham in Buckinghamshire and Mark Vincent, 53, of Kimblewick, Aylesbury, both appeared at Oxford Magistrates court yesterday.

The pair spoke only to confirm their name and address, and to deny the charges put to them.

The court heard how on New Year's Day the pair are alleged to have caused 'unnecessary suffering' to a fox by 'rodding an underground artificial sett' to force it out .

ALSO READ: Four injured in pub explosion

The charges continue to describe how the fox was pulled by its tail from the underground sett, while being forced out with a rod, so it could be released ready for the hounds of the Kimblewick Hunt to pursue.

Kimblewick Hunt dates back to 2002 and sees members hunt in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire. It is held in Moreton in January.

Legislation introduced in 2004 made it illegal to hunt and kill a fox and other wild mammals with dogs in England and Wales.

The tradition of fox hunting continues but most instead operate 'trail hunting', in which hounds chase artificially-laid animal scents such as fox urine rather than real animals.

ALSO READ: Pictures reveal devastation after Oxford flats explosion

The Kimblewick Hunt website explains online 'it is our intention to conduct our activities as follows until the hunting act is repealed' continuing to explain it shall act 'within the law at all times'.

Adding: "The activities that we will be undertaking include hunting a fox-based sent: hunting an artificial line laid across natural country.

"Our intention will be to make this as realistic as possible so that it continues to be as unpredictable and thrilling as hunting a fox."

The charges heard at Oxford Magistrates' Court yesterday said the offence was alleged to have taken place in Thame, one mile from Moreton where the Kimblewick New Years Day hunt took place.

ALSO READ: Guess where Oxford ranks for worst cities to live on minimum wage

Both Mr Parkinson and Mr Vincent are charged with causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal as per the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Both men entered a non guilty plea at the magistrates' court yesterday.

District judge Rana Kamlesh addressed the pair and set a prospective trial date for Wednesday, October 30, to be heard at the same court.

They were given unconditional bail.