Dear Ms. Cavanagh; we reviewed your article. I am enclosing a few comments and/or edits. Sam McMichael.
(McMichael is representing the plaintiffs, Robert H. Crompton, III and Georgia R. Crompton)
His comments are in red
Dispute continues despite Judge's ruling on Andrews Bridge Foxhounds
February 12, 2019
BY SARA CAVANAGH
CHRISTIANA, Pa--Despite a judge's decision that it was hoped would settle the dispute,
contention continues over the ownership of the hounds of Andrews Bridge Foxhounds (ABF) as
well as which group, the Crompton's Andrews Bridge Foxhounds or Steve Harris' Andrews
Bridge Foxhounds, Inc., has the right to hunt the territory in Lancaster County.
The dispute is believed by Georgia Crompton to have contributed to Bob Crompton's death.
Bob Crompton and Steve Harris both grew up around Huntington Valley, hunted there and
Crompton moved to Unionville Christiana after marrying Diana Diane Strawbridge, and he
and George Strawbridge, Diana’s Diane's brother, bought huge tracts of land in Lancaster
When Bob Crompton retired from hunting, he leased the ABF to Harris but remained as
On March 12, 2017, all but two of the ABF hounds were taken from the kennel on Bob and
Georgia Crompton's land without their knowledge or permission, and the Cromptons didn't
know where they were taken, so they filed suit to recover the hounds.
In the Estate of Robert H. Crompton, III and Georgia R. Crompton, Plaintiffs, vs. Stephen B.
Harris, Esquire, Betsy A. Harris and Andrews Bridge Foxhounds, Inc., the Judge ruled that "the
Andrews Bridge Foxhounds are owned by the Cromptons," but Harris filed an appeal.
The Master of Foxhounds Association recognizes the territory hunted by a pack, but,
because never before have hounds been leased, the MFHA has no precedent to follow.
"This is so new, so recent, we're just now looking at it," said David Twiggs, executive
director of the Master of Foxhounds Association. "We have to work with all the Masters."
Twiggs, said that the MFHA has Stephen B. Harris, Betsy A Harris, Mrs. Robert H. Crompton
III, William Crompton and George Strawbridge still listed as Joint Masters.
"BOB WAS brought to tears when they stole the hounds," said Georgia of her husband of
3036 years who died about a year after the hounds were taken. "Steve Harris is a lawyer. All he
had to say was he wanted to start his own pack. Don't steal our hounds and hide them for six
months in Virginia. We found out later that's where he had taken them."
"They took them to Virginia," said Georgia Crompton, referring to the fact that hounds she
claimed were takenstolen were taken across statestat's lines. "I think that's a felony."
"We were in Florida when they were taken," said Crompton. "Our manager was in church.
Two old hounds were left. They took everything, the water heater, the power hose. Our realtor
called us and told us that the Harrises were not leasing the kennel. Bob (remove ‘I’)I called Jim
Paxson, and he went and got the two hounds. They were shivering. They hid the hounds for six
months. they're still spreading lies about us. They're still disputingfighting over 26 hounds that
were drafted to Andrews Bridge Foxhounds from other packs of foxhounds for breeding
purposes.They're all by our breeding. They leased the pack, not individual hounds."
"We felt that the hounds belonged to us," said Harris. "We wanted them in our own kennel.
We did have a place to keep them." (Note: Mr. and Mrs. Harris did not have a place to keep
them. Steve and Betsy did not own a kennel when they took the hounds and that is possibly
why they took the hounds to Virginia.)
On Jan. 29, a judge ruled "the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds are owned by the Cromptons,"
but later stayed his ruling on the ownership of 26 of the hounds, and the Master of Foxhounds
Association is looking into the question of which entity has the right to hunt the territory
assigned to ABF.
"I have filed a motion of reconsideration of the 26 hounds," said Harris. "I identified 26
hounds drafted to me or born of hounds drafted to me, and the judge stayed the transfer of
Meanwhile, Harris said he intends "to continue hunting the territory three days a week."
"The only thing in court was the ownership of the hounds," said Harris. (Note: Ownership,
the name ‘Andrews Bridge Foxhounds’, and the territory were in court by association) "I hope
the judge will find that we can keep those 26 hounds. We have commitments from other hunts
for another 26 hounds."
"The Masters of Foxhounds Association says who can hunt the territory," said Harris. "We
have been in discussion with the MFHA. We are still Joint Masters of Andrews Bridge
Bob Crompton died March 8July 15, 2018, but his widow Georgia, clearly distraught over
the loss of her husband and the loss of their hounds and what she said was the disastrous affect
it had on Bob''s life, continued the suit.
"Bob spent the last year of his life fighting this," said Crompton. "I'm doing this in his
"Georgia just feels she has to win," said Harris. "Bob Crompton died a year ago. Georgia has
sold all the property in Lancaster and she is now a resident of Florida. She is Bob's third wife."
"When Bob retired from hunting, he asked Steve Hill and me to take over full responsibility
for the pack [Note: Bob and Georgia leased the pack of Andrews Bridge Foxhounds and the
kennel on a year-to-year basis to Steve Harris and Steve Hill.] It's been well over 10 years. Since
Bob passed away, Georgia has done nothing with the hounds." [Note: Steve and Betsy Harris
have had the hounds in their possession since March 12, 2017, which is before Bob passed
"We built a new state of the art kennel," said Harris. [Note: Steve and Betsy Harris built the
kennel a year after they took the hounds and while they were in litigation with us] "We bought
Janet Elliot's farm and built the kennel there. The foxhunting community has been very
supportive. By mid-February we expect to have 25 couple of hounds. We will continue to hunt
three times a week, Monday, Thursday and Saturday."
A JUDGE in the Count of Common Pleas of Lancaster County ruled on Jan. 29, 2019 that all
"the ABF hounds were privately owned by the Cromptons rather than owned by the hunt.
There is no evidence pointed to by the defendants that suggests their actions have created an
ownership interest in the current hounds making up the pack names the Andrews Bridge
Foxhounds, through any custom or usage within the sport of foxhunting."
On Feb. 8, a portion of the pack, 45 hounds, were returned to the ABF kennel.
"Forty-five hounds were returned with no identification and no rabies certificates," said
Crompton. "You'd think they'd have the decency to bring back a hound list and the rabies
"I spent three hours with Sean Cully (the Pennsylvania representative on the Territory
Committee of the MFHA)," said Crompton. "He went to the Harrises and came to see us. He
said the MFHA is going to put us on a reorganization status. That means we can't go to any
hound shows. No one ever leased hounds before, so the MFHA doesn't know what to do."
"The Harrises have posted that they're ABF," said Crompton. "I asked Cully if he could
couldn't stop that. I'm trying to distribute the judge’s order to concerned parties pass out what
the judge said. The neighbors can't believe it. The judge made it clear that the hounds and the
name belong to us. Bob and I were together 32 36 years. To lose his life work, his hounds, to
thieves who have taken stolen his name - to steal is wrong. They were Bob's life and our life."
"I don't know what I'm going to do," said Crompton. "I'm just going one day at a time."
In one of many depositions made prior to the Judge's ruling, Pat Loftus made an excellent
analogy of the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds to a baseball team.
"It's like the Red Sox's. They just won the world championship. It's a great team. Come back
in ten years. I want to see those same Red Soxs. They have all different players. What happened
to those other players? Some got traded. Some got old. Some died. It's a different team. Any
lineage or ancestry there? Yes, they are still the Red Soxs."
IT ALL BEGAN when Walter Jeffords, Jr. transferred the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds and the
hunt (which Jeffords had founded) to Robert H. Crompton in 1968, and Crompton kenneled the
hounds on his farm in Christiana and hunted the hounds until he wanted to retired and entered
into an agreement in 2008 with Harris, his friend from childhood. (Note: Robert Crompton and
Steve Harris were not friends from childhood)
In the agreement Harris and J. Stephen Hill agreed, among other things, to "rent the hounds
and the kennel from the Cromptons" and "be responsible for the maintenance of the
foxhounds and the kennels and the staff that care for the foxhounds," according to the Judge's
Excerpts from the Judge's decision follow.
"The 2008 Agreement clearly and unequivocally states that the Andrews Bridge Kennel and
the Andrews Bridge Foxhounds are owned by the Cromptons," (Note: This indicates that the
name and territory were also leased along with the pack of foxhounds.)
A 2013 amendment "still does not indicate any ownership interest in the foxhounds by
Andrews Bridge Foxhounds, Inc., instead reiterating that Andrews Bridge Foxhounds, Inc. is
'leasing' the foxhounds on a year-to-year basis." (Note: This indicates that the name and
territory were also leased along with the pack of foxhounds.)
"On March 12, 2017, Harris emailed the Cromptons' realtor, Mark Willcox, informing him
that Harris wanted to terminate the leases.
"Harris took 70 foxhounds and left two old foxhounds...Harris states that he left the hounds
he leased from the Cromptons at the kennel. Harris and defendants have resolutely asserted to
the Cromptons that the pack is now theirs."
"He (Harris) asserts that only the hounds in existence at the time of the lease are owned by
the Cromptons, but this runs afoul of the definitions and customs of the Masters of the
"Although subscribers were required to pay an annual subscription that went toward the
support of the ABF hounds, the language in the 2008 Agreement is clear that the ABF hounds
were privately owned by the Cromptons rather than owned by the hunt. The evidence
establishes no dispute of material facts requiring a trial.
"There is no evidence pointed to by defendants that suggests their actions have created an
ownership interest in the current hounds making up the pack named the Andrews Bridge
Foxhounds, through any custom or usage within the sport of foxhunting. The evidence leads to
the opposite conclusion and plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgement." This indicates that
the name and territory were also leased along with the pack of foxhounds.