Certain forms of hunting wild mammals with dogs have been made illegal by the passing of the Hunting Act 2004.


Traditional hunting for foxes with foxhounds was outlawed by the introduction of the Hunting Act. Fell packs now take part in legal trail hunting, with the foxhounds following a sent laid by a runner or a rider.


It is now against the law to hunt for a wild mammal with a dog, unless the hunting is legally exempt.


Anyone who knowingly permits a dog which belongs to them to be used in the course of wild mammal hunting is committing an offence under the Act.


It is also an offence for someone to knowingly permit land which belongs to him to be entered or used in the course of wild mammal hunting.


Hare coursing, which can involve dogs hunting live hares as part of a competition to assess skill, is also prohibited by the 2004 legislation.


Officers have powers to stop and search those they suspect to have broken laws under the Hunting Act. Offences can be dealt with by way of a fine by the courts and the forfeiture of dogs and/or hunting articles by police.


Bedfordshire Police is also committed to facilitating lawful and peaceful protest against organised trail hunts and will work with parties on both sides to ensure the safety of all involved and that all laws, including that of trespass, are upheld.


We liaise with hunt groups and protestors and will listen to concerns raised on either side, taking appropriate action where necessary.