It can be difficult to know what is or isn’t a wildlife crime and when it’s right to involve us. Wildlife and animal crime takes many forms from hare coursing, trade in endangered species, persecution of protected species to livestock worrying. Find out what is a crime and what you can do about it.
What is wildlife crime?
Wildlife crime is any activity that goes against legislation protecting the UK's wild animals and plants. It can cause pain and suffering to animals, push species closer to extinction and can be linked to other serious crimes like firearms offences and organised crime.
Wildlife law is complicated and it can be hard to know whether something is a crime and whether, or when, to involve the police.
What is a wildlife crime?
persecution of badgers, birds and bats
egg theft and collection
collection of or trade in protected species and animal products
not registering animals which require a licence
taking protected plants
use of poisons, snares or explosives to kill or injure animals
hunting with dogs
introducing invasive species
killing or capturing, damaging or destroying the habitat of any protected animal
We will sometimes attend hunt events to maintain order and protect life and property. We'll do this without favouring any group. This may include:
If you hit a dog, horse, cow, pig, goat, sheep or donkey (or a mule) then you must report that to us, whether the animal is killed or not.
If you hit a wild animal accidentally and you can't take it to a vet immediately or safely, you need to contact us on 101, as allowing a wild animal to suffer is an offence. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
If you hit and kill a wild animal, you must leave it safely by the roadside and notify the local council so they can remove the remains. Some wild animals are protected and it is an offence to possess one, dead or alive.
If you come across animals loose on the road and there’s a danger to traffic, call 999. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
Other crimes involving animals
We work with the RSPCA to investigate animal cruelty. To report cruelty, neglect or abuse, you can go to the RSPCA's website or call them on 0300 1234 999 (lines open 24 hours a day).
Livestock worrying and theft are offences and must be reported to us. You can do that by reporting a crime online or bycalling 101. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
Incidents involving dogs, either a dog that's out of control in a public place, a breed of dog that's been banned or dog fighting, must be reported to us, either by reporting a crime online or bycalling 101. If you're deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service on 18001 101.