Residents describe horror of hare coursing blight on their community

The blood-thirsty sport of hare coursing takes place across Tayside, it has been claimed.


Residents of Emmock Farm, north of Dundee, who did not wish to be identified, described multiple instances of hare coursing, and the gruesome remains.

Gangs of criminals engaging in the cruel act have repeatedly been spotted in the area. One local said he thought the culprits had walked their dogs from Kirkton and other areas to attack hares and other wildlife.

He said: “We know it’s happening because we see them; I saw someone out with binoculars the other day looking for hares with his dog. We find the bodies too, absolutely mutilated, it’s horrible. They course mainly for hares but once they were depleted they started going after roe deer and other wildlife.”

Practitioners of the brutal and banned bloodsport threaten local people who confront them.

Another resident said: “We’re scared to speak to them in case they find out where we live. A local farmer was told that if he called the police there would be repurcussions, and he recently had a quadbike stolen, we don’t know that it’s connected though. The police say unless they catch someone in the act there’s not much they can do.”

The Emmock Farm sightings follow similar reports of coursing taking place around Longforgan at the beginning of the month. PC Mark Stewart issued a warning after signs were found that the sport had taken place.

A van containing three dogs was seen on farmland near Invergowrie and police are appealing for witnesses.

The shocking sport involves training whippets and other sighthounds by getting them to chase, mutilate and, ultimately, kill hares. Banned since 2002, the practice is considered one of the most serious wildlife crimes.

Nonetheless, it continues to be a problem in Perthshire and Angus.

Groups travel from all over the country to the area’s farmland to send their greyhound and lurcher-type dogs hunting for a kill. Bets are taken, and any hares caught are torn apart before those responsible disappear, with the whole practice often lasting no more than 10 minutes.

Police wildlife and environmental crime officer Alan Stewart said, “Our message to those who are determined to ignore the law and chase hares with dogs is that police officers will use all powers at their disposal to tackle this illegal practice.

“The very fact that they are out searching for hares to course is sufficient evidence to prosecute. They are likely to be arrested and can expect a court appearance.”

As of earlier this year, anyone who is detected hare coursing can face a fine of £10,000 and also six months’ imprisonment.

Anyone with information about hare coursing should contact police.

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