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23rd February 2012

How To Report Illegal Hunting

I was on the phone to a local policeman the other day whilst discussing an incident of hunt-related wildlife crime. The copper was under no illusions about the mythical practice of ‘trail hunting’. He was well aware that live foxes are regularly being harried and killed.

“They’re all at it,” he said in reference to the packs on his beat.

I represented Hounds Off at a meeting with police in Dorset earlier this month, alongside other animal protection groups. We’d all noticed a rise in Hunt trespass reported in the local press. We pointed out that a representative from one Hunt in particular had issued apologies via the newspapers for running roughshod through village gardens and over forbidden land on four separate occasions in recent weeks.

His excuses included, “it seems they [hounds] picked up the scent of a fox and went after it,” (Blackmore Vale Magazine, 6 Jan); “there are times when the hounds deviate onto live quarry or when wind shifts the trail,” (Blackmore Vale Magazine, 20 Jan and Western Gazette, 2 Feb – same quote for two separate incidents); and “The hunt was in the wrong. We have apologised and won’t let it happen again,” (Blackmore Vale Magazine, 10 Feb).

The meeting was told that in these days of budget cuts and statistics-led policing, as far as the authorities are concerned, illegal hunting is not reported enough for it to register as a problem that needs resourcing.

One way to address illegal hunting is to report every incident witnessed. I asked the police at our meeting how we, the public, could do this most effectively. They said the answer was to phone 101 and make sure that your complaint is logged. Like it or not, there needs to be a critical mass of complaints before, statistically-speaking, the police actively enforce the Law.

101 is the non-emergency police hotline. Wherever you live the instruction is clear: if you see a Hunt and suspect it’s acting illegally then phone 101 and report it. Make sure the person on the other end gives you an Incident Number too. Pass on this message to your family, friends and neighbours. It might feel like a pointless action in isolation but, together, we can make a worthwhile stand.

Posted by Joe Hashman

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17 Comments | Leave a comment

  • Danni says:
    Posted September 01, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I have just moved into a country village. Early hours of this morning I heard a lot of dogs barking and talking and horses. There were over 25 horses and riders with over 50 dogs. They all left one way through our the village. 3 hours later about 25 riders returned. Then about 30 minutes later all the dogs and the rest of the riders returned. I have never seen so much traffic through this village since I lived here. Large 4×4’s with horse boxes all morning. Gutted to see this still going on!! Not all that effort would be made with no reward. Say what you like, they were hunting!!

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted February 04, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      What you describe certainly sounds suspicious, Danni. Early morning hunting in the late summer and autumn months was traditionally called ‘cub hunting’ because young hounds were trained to hunt and kill young foxes. Before hunting was banned the tally-ho brigade renamed it ‘Autumn Hunting’ to sanitise the reality a tad. Since the 2004 Hunting Act came in to force they call it ‘hound exercise’. We believe, based on what we see and hear,that cub hunting continues as before and is widespread. Sadly…

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  • Jared says:
    Posted December 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I have just seen a pack of dogs followed by about 20 tally-ho tossers chasing a live fox through the fields. I confronted them but they weren’t interested. I reported it to 101 and the police did eventually attend, but they had obviously gone by then.

    There has to be more effective measures than just calling the overstretched police. I took a photo of the fox being chased but doubt it can be used for anything. Perhaps matters should be taken into my own hands, if I see them again.

    The most deeply distressing thing for me was the look on the scum’s faces (some of which were women), as the fox was screaming as it was torn apart by hounds, it’s not a sound I will ever forget. If I cross them again, it will take great restraint from me to not physically damage them.

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    • Dave says:
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      These satanic, nasty, horrific, bloodthirsty, arrogant tossers need to realize that they are NOT above the law!

      If you see them with dogs and it looks suspicious, you can ask them for their group name. If they refuse to give you a group name – call the police (101). Note down the time, date, and place also.

      All suspicious activity should be reported to the police on their non-emergency number (101).

      I am a courier and have to travel through rural areas constantly. Not only do they slow me down considerably, they also trample over peoples property sometimes causing considerable damage!

      Please keep reporting them! If we don’t, nothing will get done about them and more foxes will suffer horrific deaths! If an area has a significant fox problem, a man with a gun is efficient and humane! We don’t need these poncey neanderthals ruining our countryside and giving us true country folk a bad name!

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  • Bob says:
    Posted April 21, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    I stumbled across this website Crosshair Consulting, and although I quickly exited the site, it is full of images of men posing with dead animals. (Lions, gazelle, etc.) I am sickened by this website as it also provides people with TIPS on hunting these creatures. I am unsure of what to do. I assume its illegal. How can it be right? Do I report it, and if so, how? Please help I want these people arrested and punished.

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted May 17, 2016 at 7:33 am

      If you suspect anything illegal then report this to the police. We would also advise the same information to be passed to the League Against Cruel Sports in confidence on 01483 361 108 or email them directly on crimewatch@league.org.uk

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  • Gail Davies says:
    Posted October 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    This morning I came home to see an an exhausted looking fox enter my garden. I could hear hounds baying, shouting and a hunting horn so I locked all the gates and left shed/workshop doors open for the fox to seek refuge. My garden is big but is dogproof because of my own dogs. I have searched the garden but can’t find him. Should I report this to the police?

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted October 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Yes! Call them on 101 and give them all the info you can, no detail too small. Ensure that your call is recorded officially and that you receive an Incident/Crime Number. Keep this safe and refer to it in all subsequent correspondence with anyone about this incident. And Gail, well done you. Let us hope that the fox found safe sanctuary in your garden.

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  • Lucy says:
    Posted November 06, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Yesterday we had the tallyho tossers everywhere here, pack of hounds, horn blowing, satanic followers causing obstructions, cantering up and down the main road, backtracking….. then the hounds found a way in our garden. THEY were everywhere and we could hardly get them out. luckily my dogs and cats were all inside. But then the abuse stated from the hunt. My husband was shouting get to get the dogs out and I won’t repeat what was said by 1 certain individual. 1 lady entered our garden around the back without permission, looking for the dogs, about 8 on foot and horseback were all in my gateway on my ground so gorse shot in the drive. Where do we stand on this as this is the first event now the season is upon us. You can bet it’ll be the same next week.

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted November 06, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Lucy, firstly you must report this to the police on 101. Tell them exactly what happened without omitting anything or embellishing either. Your call will generate a Log Number by which the police will keep a record of your call. Make sure the person you speak to forwards that Log Number. Note it and keep it safe. In all correspondence with anyone about this incident quote this Log Number. It will ensure continuity.
      Without details of where this happened it’s hard to say if there will be a repeat next week. It’s possible, though sometimes a hunt will operate in an area far less often than that. You can use our Contact Us page if you like to tell us your location or postcode. From that we can also deduce which Hunt was likely responsible. With this information, you can apply our Hounds Off Belt & Braces Approach to protecting your property and pets from future hunt trespass. Here is a link
      http://www.houndsoff.co.uk/action-advice/landowners-farmers-residents/warn-off-your-local-hunt-belt-braces-approach/
      Thanks for sharing your news. We want to help and reassure you that you are not alone.
      Kind regards,
      The Hounds Off Team

      Reply to this comment >
      • Lucy says:
        Posted November 06, 2016 at 10:20 pm

        Thanks for your reply. Ill report via e-mail to the 101 service, that way I have a record.
        I’m pretty sure we know which hunt is responsible as we know some of the followers. Thanks again for your reply

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  • Richmond Coffin says:
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    Hi,regretfuly we had the hunt trespass on our land,we run a donkeyandshetlandslasthome , including dogs and cats, cockeral and until the hunt came a lovely wild rabbit we had had from bottle fed by michelle for 5 years, thePortman hunt were were awful, and one of thier dogs were seriously injured,on the main road by a car,it was taken away!!!!!!!! what we were told to do, was to write to the hunt (recorded delivery),so now they are meant to inform us,when there in the area,and if they now come on to our land,they can be held as tresspass,(as they have been infomed not to go on any of our properety,hope this helps, Richmond. (this happened 2 years ago,nothings happened since, were also putting up, “hounds off posters” .

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    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted November 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks for this, Richmond. What you did is what we advise. See the Belt & Braces Approach in our Action & Advice pages (top bar).
      All the best and if you ever need us please get in touch.

      Reply to this comment >
    • HoundsOff says:
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Richmond, your No Hunting signs do the job and we are really pleased to see how you’ve used them. Thanks very much to you and Michelle for caring xx

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  • Martyn says:
    Posted December 18, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Just a comment on your ‘phone 101′ statement above.
    I went to the Badger Trust conference last month and we were told, by the police, that we should phone 999 if we see (any) wildlife crime actually in progress (including hunting), and phone 101 if a crime has already happened or if we have any information about a crime.
    Either way insist on getting a log number.

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  • ML says:
    Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Saw today in Northamptonshire, Ravensthorpe a large group of horse riders gathering and later on my way home had to stop my car due to hunting dogs running across the road…not happy this is still happening….

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    • ML says:
      Posted February 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Oh and I reported it, police were very helpful and understanding.

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