According to Former Town Council Member Catherine “Bundles” Murdock” Loudoun County now wants to “to issue dog licenses for every dog in Loudoun County.” That’s “fine for house pets,” she noted, but “would be devastating when it came to fox hunting.”
Murdock opened the proceedings of the February 9 regular meeting of Middleburg’s Town Council with a reminder that “a public input session” would be held on February 16th by Loudoun County to “examine whether they should cancel permits for kennels.” She then gave Council both a copy of a protest email she sent to the County and a letter from the Master Foxhounds of the Piedmont Hunt.
“For many years,” Murdock noted, “the County issued group licenses” that covered and entire pack of hunting dogs. This year, however, they “insisted on individual licenses” at the cost of ten dollars per dog. The Middleburg Hunt alone, she said, has around eighty hounds and the Piedmont Hunt one hundred twenty.
The cost of the individual licenses, she noted, is “a financial and administrative burden for a hunt club, which was a non-profit organization.” Under the new rules, the Piedmont Hunt, for example, would have to “file for one hundred twenty licenses each year.”
It is not as if the dogs are unidentified, she noted. Master Foxhounds’ hounds, covered under the group licenses, are all tattooed and their identities carefully recorded.
Middleburg is “the center of fox hunting in America,” Murdock continued, and the hunt and hounds are the symbolic centerpiece of the “ Christmas in Middleburg” celebrations.
Murdock urged the Mayor and Town Council “to write a letter explaining that Middleburg was the heart of foxhunting and expressing an understanding that the County wanted to keep track of every dog but to ask them to please not loop kennels into that situation.”
Mayor Davis, with Council approval, directed the Town Clerk to draft a letter. Councilmember Mark Snyder told Council that he planned to send a personal letter to the supervisors and urged other concerned citizens to do the same.