Certain forms of hunting wild mammals with
dogs have been made illegal by the passing of the Hunting Act
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
We liaise with hunt groups and protestors and
will listen to concerns raised on either side, taking appropriate
action where necessary.