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Combatting illegal hunting with dogs

Combatting Illegal Hunting with Dogs

South Africa faces a persistent challenge in the form of illegal hunting with dogs. In the legal battle against this issue, several statutes come into play, each contributing to a comprehensive framework to eradicate illegal hunting and safeguard the nation’s natural heritage and livestock. Below, we set out the legislation available to landowners to combat illegal hunting. 

1. Trespassing: 

Trespassing onto private or protected lands for illegal hunting violates property rights. The Trespass Act of 1959 empowers landowners to protect their properties, providing a legal avenue to combat intrusions by poachers. 

2. Stock Theft: 

The illegal hunting of animals falls within the scope of stock theft, an offence addressed by the Stock Theft Act of 1959. This legislation aims to prevent the unlawful removal and possession of animals, including wildlife and carries severe penalties for convicted offenders. 

3. Damage to Property: 

Perpetrators of illegal hunting often cause property damage, be it fences or other infrastructure. The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act of 1998 addresses property damage and offers legal recourse for affected landowners. 

4. Animal Protection Act: 

The Animal Protection Act of 1962 is a vital legal tool against animal cruelty. Illegal hunting with dogs not only endangers wildlife but subjects them to undue suffering, making this act an instrumental aspect in preventing/combating such offences. 

 5. Fencing Act: 

The Fencing Act of 1963 also plays a role in safeguarding wildlife and livestock by regulating the construction and maintenance of fences. Properly constructed and maintained fences serve as a deterrent to illegal hunting. 

6. Criminal Procedure Act: 

The Criminal Procedure Act of 1977 provides the procedural aspects of handling criminal cases, ensuring that due process is followed in investigating and prosecuting offences related to illegal hunting and, in particular, with dogs. 

The legal arsenal against illegal hunting with dogs is diverse and robust, encompassing a range of statutes that address various facets of this criminal activity. Collaboration between SAPS, conservation authorities, and local communities remains paramount in the ongoing effort to reduce illegal hunting with dogs. 

If you have any questions about other Labour or Land issues, contact McCarthy Attorneys Inc. on (033) 266 6170 or  via email