A hunting group has been accused of losing control of its hounds by anti-hunt campaigners, causing the death of two dogs.

The incident, which occurred around 7am last Thursday morning, saw two men on bicycles from the Wynnstay Hunt release hounds in a field for a "routine exercise", when a number of the dogs ran across the A41 in Malpas, near Hampton Heath roundabout. Two dogs died as result of being hit by cars.

A women, who wished to remain anonymous, contacted the Standard's sister title the Whitchurch Herald after the incident, describing the scene as a "blood bath".

"There were around 40 dogs and some were running across the main road," she said.

"We saw the dogs being hit by cars and it was horrible."

Lesley Martin, from Cheshire Monitors, said that is is not the first time dogs have got out of control.

"The dogs were believed to have been chased a fox," she said.

"The members of the pack are supposed to be in total control of the dogs, and it is said that the dogs are encouraged not to chase but I have never seen them not chasing. They lost control because the hounds are trained on fox scents, not false scents."

Nick Weston, from the League Against Cruel Sports, added: “We were saddened to hear that these dogs have unnecessarily lost their lives but not surprised as we believe that hunts often mistreat them.

“This is one of many reports we’ve had this year of packs of hunting hounds being out of control and wreaking havoc on busy roads.

“Fox hunting was banned 14 years ago and yet it appears that the hounds were in pursuit of a fox.

“Polling indicates that the vast majority of the British public oppose hunting and would be horrified if they knew that animals are still being chased and literally being torn to pieces by packs of hounds.

“This hunt shows contempt for the safety of its own hounds and the worry is that they are behaving as if the fox hunting ban had never been enacted.

“The League Against Cruel Sports has had over 400 reports of illegal hunting and 150 incidents involving hunts wreaking havoc in the British countryside since last Autumn – we suspect this is simply one more incident we need to add to the tally.”

Fox hunting has been banned in the UK since 2005, but officials from the Wynnstay Hunt, who the hounds belonged to, insisted the hounds were not in pursuit of a wild mammal.

Jonathon Turner, from the Hunt, said: “We can confirm that two of our hounds sadly lost their lives during routine hound exercise on bicycles last Thursday.

"The hounds were not in pursuit of a wild mammal but strayed away from the rest of the pack where they were unfortunately hit by a car. Thankfully incidents of this nature are very rare and this was of course distressing for all those concerned.

"Our thoughts are with the driver of the vehicle who was understandably upset to have injured the hounds and with our hunt staff who devote their lives to looking after the hounds on a daily basis and care deeply for each and every one of the pack.”

A spokesperson from Cheshire Constabulary said: "We are aware and will be looking into the circumstances. Anyone who witnessed the collision involving the dogs should contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting incident number IML 79743.”