Lincolnshire Police staff plan to foster seized dogs
Dogs seized in hare coursing operations could be fostered by staff at Lincolnshire Police.
Officers seized 76 dogs during the 2017-18 season, which runs from September until March, as part of operations to disrupt the activity.
The idea for fostering dogs initially involved members of the public but the force said it now wanted to trial the scheme with staff first.
Dogs are currently looked after in kennels pending any court action.
Wildlife officers reported a 30% reduction in the number of hare coursing incidents since the tactic of seizing animals was introduced in 2017.
Police said it was effective because coursers can often be engaged in illegal betting activities and the dogs involved can be worth thousands of pounds.
However, Supt Phil Vickers said there was a financial impact on the force in paying for the animals to be housed in kennels.
It is hoped the fostering scheme will help to reduce costs.
Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said seizing dogs was a vital part in ridding the county of the problem - but cost the force approximately £45,000 in 2018.
Mr Jones said he was working to get a change in the law so costs could be passed to the dog's owners.
In January dogs which had been used in illegal hare coursing were for the first time rehomed rather than being returned to their owners.
- Since 2005, hare coursing has been illegal throughout the UK. The Hunting Act 2004 makes it an offence to hunt wild mammals with dogs
- The dogs - usually greyhounds, lurchers or salukis - are on a slip lead, threaded so it can be easily released
- The coursers will walk along the field to frighten the hare into the open
- The dog catches the hare and kills it by "ragging" it - shaking the animal in its teeth
- The dead hare is usually left in the field or thrown in a ditch
Source: Lincolnshire Police