Lurcher owner prosecuted and fined for illegal hare hunting in Wexford

An Garda Síochána secured a successful conviction brought under the Wildlife Acts relating to illegal hare lurching in Co. Wexford, according to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The Irish hare is a protected animal under the Wildlife Acts, the department noted.

The case came before Judge Brian O’Shea in Wexford District Court on Monday, September 30, where an individual was convicted of hunting an exempted wild animal without a licence.

Members of An Garda Síochána and officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of the department gave evidence of witnessing hares being hunted with lurcher dogs at the North Slob hare reserve on November 26, 2017.

The defendant claimed to be hunting foxes on that date, according to the department.

However, John Griffin, conservation ranger with the NPWS, provided expert evidence into the differing hunting methods used for hares and foxes along with the habits and habitats of both species.

Judge O’Shea convicted the individual and fined him €500.

An Garda Síochana and the NPWS regularly co-operate to tackle wildlife crime which is known to occur in certain locations in Co. Wexford.

The Wexford North Slobs, where the conviction was secured, is an important location and a reserve for hares, where hunting of hares is not legal under any circumstances, the department concluded.