‘Lucky’ day for hare coursing dogs who land new homes after seizures near Sleaford and Spilsby

Seized lurchers Lucky and Spencer with officers from Lincolnshire Police's Operation Galileo. They have now been rehomed. EMN-180314-092529001
Seized lurchers Lucky and Spencer with officers from Lincolnshire Police's Operation Galileo. They have now been rehomed. EMN-180314-092529001

Two hare coursing dogs seized by police in the Sleaford area have now been successfully re-homed.

Lincolnshire Police say they have now successfully found ‘Lucky’ and ‘Spencer’ the new loving homes they deserve following a successful prosecution.

It was the first time that one of the county’s courts had given Lincolnshire Police permission to find the dogs a permanent new home – rather than having to return them to their owners.

Officers caught John Alan Langan, 31, of The Hawthorns, Great Ayton, North Yorkshire and Thomas Edward Jaffray, 34, of The Greenway, Middlesbrough, hare coursing in Digby Fen last September, and on Friday January 12 at Lincoln Magistrates, both were found guilty of a hare coursing offence.

Hare coursing is where people release dogs in a field to chase a hare before killing it. This is gambled on and the dog that makes the hare change direction the most wins.

Lucky and Spencer who are both lurchers, were cared for in a good kennel where they had stayed since the two men were arrested.

The court imposed fines of £180, £300 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge on each of the men, and both were disqualified from driving for two months. Both men are also banned from being on private land in Lincolnshire with lurchers or similar dogs or be with people who have these canine companions. A Community Behaviour Order that is in place for two years will prevent this.

Another five dogs are due to follow in their paw-steps as Lincolnshire Police also now have permission to find them new homes. Those dogs were seized from an incident of hare coursing near Spilsby last month.

Chief Inspector Jim Tyner said: “We are delighted that the dogs are going to be looked after and this is a real breakthrough for us. We’ve confiscated dogs temporarily for a long time but we are now making every effort to get the dogs taken away from hare coursers permanently.

“My officers have all witnessed a dog being left behind by coursers after it has been badly injured in this cruel activity or because it can no longer compete and make them money.

“We will continue to make every effort to tackle this and get the dogs into the caring homes they deserve.”

In February 2018 there were 113 incidents of hare coursing reported in Lincolnshire – a 57 per cent reduction on hare coursing reported in February 2017. This is 154 less victims of hare coursing in one month.

The NFU’s county adviser for Holland (Lincs), Danny O’Shea, added: “The NFU is working closely with Lincolnshire Police on Operation Galileo again this year. We are pleased that the concerted effort the police are undertaking is starting to produce results.

“Seizing cars and dogs from hare coursers takes away the means of committing this awful crime.

“Although the numbers of reported incidents is slightly lower so far this year, the NFU and our members are concerned that these criminals are resorting to violence and increased levels of intimidation in pursuit of their so called sport. We are urging all farmers and their staff, and indeed anyone who lives in the Lincolnshire countryside, to report any incidents of hare coursing they witness or are aware of. We have to send a clear message to coursers… Lincolnshire is off limits.

“The NFU will continue to lobby at national level for safer funding for Lincolnshire Police and for stiffer punishments for hare coursing. The intimidation and violence that these criminals bring with them when they come to Lincolnshire are unacceptable and so the NFU is working with Government, police forces across the country, the Crown Prosecution Service and other agencies to bring about an end to this blight on our countryside.”