GUIDELINES: ILLEGAL DOG HUNTING
Agri SA’s Rural Safety Committee recently spent considerable time discussing the problem of illegal hunting with dogs. Although this is a growing problem, land owners should take extreme care in their actions that could make them liable for prosecution:
The following practical guidelines were compiled:
- Gathering of evidence and protecting the crime scene by:
- Keeping evidence of the crime scene uncontaminated until recorded and collected by police, e.g. vehicle tracks, suspect and animal spoor.
- Ensuring that there are no further suspects in the area.
- Protecting evidence that may be destroyed.
- Entry point, open gate, damage fence.
- No eating, drinking or smoking at the crime scene.
- Gathering names and addresses of possible witnesses.
- Not discussing facts with witnesses.
- Making notes on position of vehicles, suspects, dogs, gates, fences etc.
- Where possible, take photographs of vehicles, dogs and suspects.
- Nature Conservation Organisations should immediately be involved and to assist with complaints with illegal hunting.
- Get the nearest SPCA involved who can also deal with the confiscation of dogs.
- Farmer Associations should involve the local National Prosecuting Authority at their meetings, where assistance on how to deal with issues of illegal hunting should be discussed.
- Get involved with the local police and Sector Community Policing Forum.
- Utilise the Local Priority Committee to develop action plans to deal with the problem, such as patrols and increase awareness programmes.
- In the event of damages caused by dogs, land owners must also open a case of malicious damage to property and insists on a compensatory fine declaring the value of the property.
- If hunting was previously permitted and the land owner now wishes to cease hunting, a legal procedure should be followed to inform neighbours, tenants, community members etc that it will no longer be permitted.