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New hunting laws to be enforced

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Hertfordshire police have issued a warning that anyone found hunting foxes with dogs will be breaking the law and could face prosecution.

New legislation, contained in The Hunting Act 2004, became law on 18 February, 2005.

The act bans the hunting of wild mammals, including foxes, with dogs although there are some exemptions which will allow hunts to continue legally, for example, hunting for rabbits or the formation of hound exercise clubs.

BBC News Online has a special section entitled 'The Ban On Hunting' for those wanting more background information on the issue.

Hertfordshire has one hunt based in the county, the Puckeridge hunt in East Herts, however three other hunts regularly pass through the county. They are the Aldenham Harriers hunt, the Vale of Aylesbury hunt, and the Cambridgeshire with Enfield Chace hunt.

The main role of the police will be to ensure that public order is maintained and that no illegal activity takes place. Breaches of the Act could result in prosecution through the Magistrates Court.

Officers say their aim is to ensure public order is maintained and no illegal activities take place.

Superintendent Dave Thomson, who is co-ordinating the Constabulary’s response to the Hunting ban, said: “We have been working closely with the organisers of the Puckeridge Hunt and liasing closely with neighbouring police forces to make sure that the new legislation is adhered to.

“Traditionally we have had a police presence at hunts and this will continue. The Puckeridge Hunt has indicated that they will continue to act legally, within the new legislation, and we will be allocating resources proportionately alongside other policing priorities.

“We appreciate that this is an emotive subject but we hope that everyone, both for and against hunting, will abide by the law.”

You can discuss hunting with hounds in this site’s forum.

20 February 2005

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