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Deer bitten by dogs and dragged in latest coursing incident as local hotspots identified

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The deer was dumped near the Christchurch bypass
The deer was dumped near the Christchurch bypass

A DEER was bitten by dogs and dragged by bungee cords before its body was dumped in Christchurch during the latest incident of coursing.

Dorset Police have identified Christchurch and Burton as hotspots for illegal hunting, amid a rise in cases across the county.

The local incident happened overnight on land close to the Christchurch bypass on 27th November. Officers branded the perpetrators as “cowards” and urged residents to remain vigilant and report offenders.

PC Claire Dinsdale, of Dorset’s rural crime team, said: “The individuals known for this are also often known for theft, burglary, assaults and domestic abuse offences, as well as fraud on elderly or vulnerable people.

“Coursing, however, is their favourite pastime, which their crimes can help fund. They are cowards who travel in groups and make threats against our hard-working rural communities.”

She added: “Local residents, cyclists, horse riders and motorists are asked to call 999 for any suspected hare or deer coursing in progress. It can be day or night, with incidents increasing from autumn to winter.”

The Christchurch incident was revealed as police highlighted the illegal activity of using dogs to chase animals such as hare and deer. It often involves breeds such as lurchers and salukis.

The force said offenders will scout an area before driving across fields and releasing dogs from moving vehicles.

That also damages soil, seeded crops, gates, hedgerows and fencing, while farmers have been threatened and intimidated, and vehicles driven into grazing sheep.

Coursing groups often go out at night and stun the deer by using lamps or headlights before chasing and ramming them with their vehicles. Dogs can be released on exhausted deer, meaning death is not usually quick.

Some offenders take heads as trophies or a supply to feed their coursing dogs, said police, and no regard is shown for pregnant deer or those with dependant young.

Dogs are often kept in dirty kennels with bare concrete or wooden floors, and those that underperform are dumped. Offenders also target gamebirds, especially just before dusk or dawn, and use catapults fired from their cars to make a quick getaway.

Dorset Police is part of the nationwide Operation Galileo to tackle hare coursing alongside the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, National Farmers’ Union, Country Land and Business Association and RSPCA.

Residents are urged to report incidents by emailing 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or online at www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online/

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