With the introduction of the Hunting Act 2004 on 18th February 2005, all forms of hare coursing are banned in the UK. Under the Act, hare coursing is defined as 'a competition in which dogs are, by the use of hares, assessed as to the skill in hunting hares'.
A person commits an offence under the Act if they:
- participate in a hare coursing event
- attend a hare coursing event
- knowingly facilitate a hare coursing event
- enter a dog for the event
- permit a dog to be entered
- permit land that belongs to them to be used for the purpose of hare coursing.
Hares are in decline and their destruction is a concern. But with hare coursing there is also associated criminal damage - to fencing/hedging to gain access, to the land with the indiscriminate use of vehicles, and in some instances intimidation of landowners and other users of the land.
If you believe hare coursing is taking place on your land:
- call the police from a safe location
- tell them what you have seen
- give them the location of the incident – try to be as precise as possible using land marks or road junctions.
- say how many people are involved and give a good description, if you can
- describe any vehicles you have seen
- if possible, state how many dogs are involved
- if the suspects leave, try to determine their direction of travel
- do NOT approach the offenders yourself or put yourself at any risk.
If you have seen any suspicious looking people or vehicles in the area or have any information relating to hare coursing in the area, who is organising it, vehicles being used etc please call the Police via the 24 hour non-emergency telephone number 101.
Alternatively if you have information but wish to remain anonymous, please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online by visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.