People in Highland Perthshire are being reminded by local police to watch out for what they might suspect to be illegal hare coursing.
Hare coursing, which has been illegal since 2004, is when dogs are sent to chase after hare’s in fields in what environmental and animal rights activists and call a ‘blood sport’.
Typically this involves using greyhounds and other sight hounds who don’t pursue their prey but scent by by sight.
Chief inspector for Perth and Kinross, Graham Binnie, says ‘I am asking for our rural communities to be aware of the potential of hare coursing as they can assist us fighting it’.
Mr Binnie says there are a few ways people can spot this activity, first by keeping an eye on vehicles parked in rural areas at gateways to farmland, on farm tracks or bridleways.
He described these cars as often being ‘estate cars, four wheel drive vehicles or small vans. They are often old tatty looking vehicles.’
Next by watching out for people walking on the edges of fields and along fence lines.
Coursers do this so that they can scare hares out into the open, freshly cut fields, where dogs can spot and chase after them.
The three dogs Mr Binnie says to watch out for are ‘lurchers, greyhounds and whippet dogs.’
Anyone who suspects they’ve seen someone participating in the illegal sport should report them to 101.
In particular, people in Highland Perthshire are being asked to take note of registration plates and offer a description of the people they think might be coursing hare.
While Mr Binnie encourages that ‘if the opportunity arises then continue to monitor any persons from a safe distance’ but reminds people not to confront them yourselves and let the police handle any possible criminal actions.