A FAMILY is horrified by the actions of a huntsman who they claim insulted their seven-year-old daughter.

A man on horseback dressed in hunting pink is said to have stuck his middle finger up at Tia Pearce when she shouted: ‘Get out of our garden!’ Tia, who was shocked and upset by the gesture, said she was trying to convey her feelings when a pack of hounds got into the front garden of her home in Piddletrenthide.

Her furious dad Rob is now demanding an apology from hunt officials.

While Mr Pearce said he was not against hunting activities, he was disgusted with the alleged behaviour of the huntsman.

Former speedway rider Mr Pearce, who is registered disabled, and wife Haidee drove to Dorchester to pick up a hospital prescription leaving oldest daughter Pearl, 15, in charge of their other children Helena, 11, Robert, nine, and Tia, as well as Helena’s friend Georgie Poor, also 11.

Mr Pearce said Pearl rang him when the hounds came into the garden. He confronted members of the hunt when he returned to the village.

Mr Pearce, 50, said: “I haven’t got the words to describe how I feel. Do these people think they’re above the law?

“I spoke to someone who was apparently the huntmaster and after much questioning I managed to get out of him that it was the South Dorset Hunt but I never got his name.

“Tia is a strong-minded girl and only shouted because our dogs were getting restless and were barking at the hounds. There was absolutely no need for the man to respond in that way.”

The rude gesture towards Tia was witnessed by all the Pearce children. Mrs Pearce, 34, said she was equally furious. She said: “How dare he do that to a child?”

Tia, who goes to Piddle Valley First School, said: “I shouted at the man to get the dogs out because I was worried about ours. I was quite angry.”

One of the huntsmen of the South Dorset Hunt, Dominic Jones, said he wasn’t surprised the family were upset.

Mr Jones confirmed the hunt passed through in Piddletrenthide but insisted the hounds did not go into a garden and were instead in an adjoining field.

He said: “I can’t imagine a situation where someone would feel the need to be rude to a little girl. People have us down for all sorts but offending children doesn’t come up at all.”

He added: “Somehow this has got confused or been blown out of proportion. If any offence was caused then I apologise.”