Police reveal they have ‘no power’ to seize dogs and immediately rehome them in hare coursing incidents
Police admit they have few powers to re-home dogs they come across in their pursuit of hare coursers – and even if they did it could cost £10,000 to care for them prior to a court hearing.
Police admit they have few powers to re-home dogs they come across in their pursuit of hare coursers - and even if they did it could cost £10,000 to care for them prior to a court hearing.
The explanation was offered on the Policing Fenland Facebook page following a car chase that ended in Guyhirn with four men detained for hare coursing.
A black Toyota Rav4 was pursued by the Cambs Rural Crime Action Team that ended near the Shell garage on the A47 at Guyhirn.
"Occupants decamped and four were detained," police reported. "All four were interviewed, dispersed and car and phones seized."
However following public comments, police explained the complications surrounding hare coursing cases.
Only if a hunting act offence can be proved will police be allowed to seize dogs until the case is heard and this can take up to a year.
They revealed that kennel fees per case can reach up to £10,000 which must be paid by the police even if they win.
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A spokesman said: "We would love to take them [the dogs]. However, we have no power to seize dogs and immediately rehome them.
"We end up having to pay the [kennel] bill even if we win and we might even have to return the dogs.
"We could also seize the dogs for the period of the dispersal but that means giving them back in 48 hours."
The spokesman added: "Currently it is too expensive but we are looking into seizing in the future if we can get a good deal."
Last month Cambridgeshire and Norfolk joined forces to arrest hare coursers, local police eventually finding the Subaru they were looking for in Little Downham. It was seized.
The rural crime team recently suggested two anti hare coursing tips. The first is to plant green cover crops.
"Over wintered stubble can be seeded with mustard or oil radish to break up the sight lines for dogs," they advised. "Twelve foot strips will do to save costs"
They also recommended putting ditches, at least two foot wide and two foot deep, around open land.
"Place dug out soil on the field side so it can't be pushed back in with a vehicle," was the advice.