Spotlight on illegal dog hunting as farmers nab man

2014-10-14 00:00

ILLEGAL dog hunting has again come under the spotlight after a Highflats farmer caught a man allegedly poaching on his land on Sunday.

Harold Lister of Gold Cliff farm told The Witness he initially saw a man running on his farm with a dog. The man said he was merely looking for his cattle.

But when he spotted a second man also on his land accompanied by two dogs, Lister called his manager and another farmer to chase the suspects.

There are several wildlife species on the farm including nyala, warthog and zebras.

“I saw a dog chasing a warthog and when it was about a metre away from catching it, I shot the dog,” Lister said.

The alleged poacher was in the plantation and he tried to escape.

However, the farmers nabbed him and handed him to the police.

“They were definitely hunting,” said Lister. However, he said after the man pleaded with him he agreed not to pursue the case in court.

“I visualised spending three or four days in court and the guy getting off with a suspended sentence. It would be just a waste of my time. I agreed instead to the police entering his name and details of the complaint in their records.”

He said in retrospect he believes this may have been the wrong action to take as he did not consider all the implications.

KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union’s Koos Marais said hunting with dogs is rife on farms throughout KZN.

“No person without a licence to hunt, may hunt on or enter a farm without permission from the land owner,” Marais said.

“Hunting with dogs often results in horses, sheep, calves and pigs being savaged and ripped to pieces by dogs. Many farmers have suffered huge losses due to this.”

Alicia Jacobs of SA CAN said at least two to five illegal dog hunting cases are reported to them weekly.

“… This has grown extensively and hunters don’t know the law or realise the consequences of their actions on the environment and fellow community members,” Jacobs said.

She said illegal dog hunting is a daily occurrence on farms all over KZN.

It was worrying that government officials are at times implicated in this sport, she said.

• SA CAN’s Alicia Jacobs said dog hunting is illegal. She said under the Nature Conservation Ordinance any dog found destroying or in pursuit of game may legally be destroyed by the land owner.

Dogs not destroyed during arrests are seized as “exhibits” and the SAPS are liable for the cost of their upkeep until the case is finalised.

The maximum penalty for illegal dog hunting is 10 years imprisonment or a fine.

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