We frequently hear about hunt hounds – or even horses – being out of control and causing a hazard. Clearly if hunts are “following a trail” they have been reckless in laying it across a highway. More than likely they are not following a trail and are hunting in defiance of the law. It’s one or the other and whichever it is, it is wrong!
At the time, do your best to make the sitation safe. Slow down or stop if it is safe to do so. Put your hazard lights on to alert other road users.
Your best bet for complaining about hounds being loose on the road and out of control is
- contact the local police to say that there were hounds loose on the road causing danger
- contact the local press and tell them what you saw
- contact the parish/district/county council who are responsible for the upkeep of roads and some fencing
- If you or a passenger has a camera or mobile phone, take photos or video (but not while you are driving!)
- Note down the time, date and location
- Take down anyone’s details if they also witnessed it
- Take down the registration of any hunt vehicles involved e.g. if someone picks up the loose hounds and puts them in the back of a land rover
- Make a note of how many vehicles were inconvenienced or any damage that occurred
- If you see the hounds chasing a fox make sure you mention this as the hunt could be open to prosecution.
If on an occasion you see a fox cross a road but the hounds have not yet reached the road you may be able to take non-violent direct action. Covering the scent left by the fox with any strong smelling substance can save that fox’s life (sometimes exhaust fumes will do this). Standing at the side of the road that hounds are about to enter from you may be able to turn them back – not only saving the fox but saving them from the danger of being in the road. Hunters use whips and hounds are trained to respond – you can clap your hands and it will have the same effect. Hunters also “rate” the hounds if they want to stop them – imagine you are telling off a domestic dog, use a gruff voice and phrases such as “get back” or “leave it”.