Dog owners at risk from Hunting Bill

24 November 2000

Dog owners at risk from Hunting Bill

By FWi staff

A DRACONIAN hunting bill could see a person walking a dog which chases a rabbit fined up to 5000, it is claimed.

The landowner would also be liable, under the draft of the bill still under discussion with the Home Office, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Option One of the bill, which seeks to ban hunting in England and Wales, does so by banning the activity, rather than seeking to define alleged cruelty.

Options Two and Three say hunting should continue under a statutory new hunting authority or, as present under independent supervision.

The bill says wild mammals may only be hunted if they are to be shot dead, killed by birds of prey or killed by some other means if injured.

The newspaper reports that this does not exclude from prosecution a person whose dog obeys its natural instinct to hunt.

A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance said: “The draft bill as it stands would place the onus on innocent parties to prove they were not committing an offence.

“This would be the opposite to the usual requirements of criminal law.

“This renders these proposals as among the most unjust and draconian in recent history.”

In an editorial, The Telegraph says that the bill has “worrying implications for civil liberties” as there is “plenty of room for confusion”.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times says Home Secretary plans to introduce a bill to ban foxhunting to test public opinion well before an election.

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