Two foxes, four rabbits & badger found dead: RSPCA investigate possibility of illegal hunting with dogs
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The RSPCA has launched an investigation into possible illegal hunting after two foxes, four rabbits and a badger were found dead in a lay-by with dog attack-like wounds. A member of the public found the bodies of the wild animals dumped by a ditch near Ashford, Kent, on May 3.
All the animals except the badger had wounds consistent with being attacked by dogs, the animal charity said. Inspectors at the organisation suggested someone could be hunting the creatures using dogs.
It is not clear whether the wounds were inflicted while the animals were dead or alive, the RSPCA confirmed. Clive Hopwood, an RSPCA inspector who is looking into the deaths, said hunters could be using dogs to kill lots of different wild animals.
The RSPCA is calling for countryside residents to be on the lookout for illegal hunting. Mr Hopwood said: “We can’t be sure if these dog bite wounds were caused after the animals were dead or when they were alive - and we’re keen to find out if someone is going out hunting for wild animals with their dogs.”
He added: “We are urging anyone who knows anything about this, or who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area, to contact us in complete confidence so we can look into what happened.”
Using dogs to hunt and kill animals has been illegal in the UK since 2004, under the Hunting Act. The Act creates five offences which include hunting a wild mammal with a dog, permitting land to be used for hunting a wild mammal with a dog and permitting a dog to be used for hunting a wild mammal.
Participating in, attending, facilitating or permitting land to be used for the purposes of a hare-coursing event and entering/permitting/handling a dog in a hare-coursing event are also criminal offences.