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Warning over potential hare coursing incidents

By David Porter

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Police Scotland are reminding residents of rural areas in the north-east to be on the lookout for potential cases of hare coursing.

Hare Coursing is illegal
Hare Coursing is illegal

It comes after several incident were reported in the Formartine and Garioch areas in recent weeks.

Hare coursing is the deliberate hunting of hares with dogs.

It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which creates the offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or take a wild hare or attempt to do so.

This crime is predominantly seasonal occurring when crops are low during the spring or in late summer and early autumn around harvest time.

However, hare coursing can occur at any time of the year on large areas of relatively flat land.

Those involved often travel long distances to engage in this form of anti-social behaviour and use dogs of varying breeds to chase hares by sight.

Dogs bred for their speed and agility such as sighthounds, greyhounds, lurchers and whippet breeds are most commonly used for coursing.

Coursers will usually walk the land with their dog(s) on slip leads searching for hares in hedge lines and often walk from the edge of the field into the middle and back again in a zig-zag manner to cover as much ground as possible.

The slip lead allows the handler to release the dog quickly upon observing a fleeing hare.

Members of the public are urged to provide:

* exact location of the hare coursing activity

* descriptions of persons, dog(s) and activity observed

* make, model, registration number and any distinguishing features of vehicles involved.

*Video footage may also assist police with enquiries if available.

Incidents of hare coursing should be reported to Police Scotland via 101 (or 999 in the case of an emergency).

Alternatively, if you have non-urgent information about a crime you can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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