North Walsham

Game keepers reminded about the use of snares

Just Regional
Aug 26, 2015 3 mins read

Police are reminding residents and game keepers in Norfolk about the use of snares as the season for rearing and releasing game birds approaches.

The warning comes after an incident in Ridlington near North Walsham over the weekend, where a dog died after becoming trapped in a legal snare, which is believed to of been set in an illegal way.

Pest and predator control with traps, snares and cages is an essential part of farming and game management, and sometimes appropriate in the conservation of species at risk.

All methods are controlled by law and while most of those practising pest controls stay within the law, there are still abuses through ignorance or intent.

Snaring animals is said to be an effective and relatively humane form of pest control. However, if set incorrectly they can cause unnecessary stress and injury to an animal. Snares which are laid incorrectly can lead to the accidental capture of non-target species; however some individuals set snares incorrectly for this purpose.

This is unlawful. The majority of people who set the snares are trained and experienced in doing so and it is unlikely that such accidents will occur. As such it is the responsibility of the person involved in pest control to ensure that the snare is lawful, laid correctly and humanely and is carried out with the respect for other wildlife and countryside users.

Snaring is subject to lawful restrictions and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence to set in position any trap or snare which is intended to cause bodily injury to any wild animal or to use a trap or snare for the purpose of killing such a wild animal of those included in Section 6 of the 1981 Act.

Snares must only be set at sites likely to be used by a fox or rabbit. Snares must not be set where there is evidence of regular use by non-target species. Snares must be inspected as soon after sunrise as is practicable, and should again be inspected near dusk. During the summer months snares must be inspected before 9am, and a further inspection carried out in the evening. Under Section 10 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 it is an offence to fail to check a snare.

All non-target species caught by snares must be released unless the animal is so badly injured that it has to be killed on humane grounds.

The 1981 Act states that the use of a ‘self-locking’ snare is unlawful. A self-locking snare is a wire loop that continues to tighten by a ratchet action as the animal struggles. Free-running snares can be set lawfully. A free-running snare is a wire loop that relaxes when the animal stops pulling.

Wildlife Officer PC Stuart Doe of North Walsham Police Station said: “It must be remembered that when using snares that the DEFRA guidelines and the legal requirements of using them must be adhered to.

“I have recently been made aware of cases where snares used were legal, but they may have not been set in a legal way. The guidelines state they are for restraining rather than killing, and they must be checked in the morning and then again in the evening.”

Anyone who has information or concerns about wildlife issues are asked to contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.


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