Fox hunting crime costs home buyers a fortune

Have you bought or rented your dream countryside home, only to find it’s surrounded by fox hunting? If so, you’re not alone. For most of us it’s a real shock to find out hunting still goes on, because it has been illegal since the Hunting Act 2004 became law. Some people stick it out, either relishing the battle or doing their best to ignore it. Others leave. Either way, fox hunters ruin lives.


Estate agents rarely help, not disclosing fox hunting even though they’re supposed to give us the information we need to make an informed decision. So before viewing, making an offer, renting or buying a village or rural home, ask your estate agent if there’s ever been fox hound trespass or hunt trespass at the property, or fox hunting in the area. It’s important to know unless your family is happy to experience foxes and their cubs being slaughtered within view or earshot from August to April.


If you buy or rent a property in a village or rural area where there’s fox hunting it could cost you time and money to deal with the problem. The emotional and mental health costs are equally high. Here are some of the issues you might face if you unknowingly rent or buy a home in a place where there’s a hunt.


The unexpected costs of fighting fox hunting crime


Fencing and perimeter protection

Depending on the size of the garden or land around your home, it can cost a huge amount to protect the perimeter with panels, animal fencing, hurdles or wire fences strong and high enough to stop a pack of 30 or more fox hounds breaking in. If you want to protect foxes on your property, buy a supply of citronella to mix with water and spray around the perimeter. It hides fox scent and confuses the hounds, but it also means more effort, expense and vigilance. If you rent, your landlord might not let you fence the property, add security, or do anything else to keep hunters and hounds away.

Fox hunting crime – Security cameras and recording equipment

The police need clear, time-stamped evidence to act on fox hunt crime. It’s helpful to have security cameras or CCTV to capture hunt crime and antisocial behaviour if they decide your place is fair game, for example hanging around your home ‘on point’ waiting for a fox to be flushed out. They might even think it’s a good idea to mess with your property. It has happened. Recording equipment is useful for keeping track of what hunters are doing and saying, and a drone is hugely valuable when you want police-worthy evidence. But none of this comes cheap, and it eats away time, energy, and head-space.

Solicitor’s fees for letters asking hunts to stay away

It’ll cost you anything from £250 plus VAT upwards to send a solicitor’s letter to ask them to steer clear of your home. It’s unlikely they’ll respond, and they’ll probably ignore your request anyway. You’ll need tens of thousands of pounds to pay for an injunction against an entire hunt, less to take a specific hunter – say the Hunt Master – to court in a civil case. Either way legal action is rarely an option unless you’re rich. If you can afford it, it’s still a stressful and long-winded process.


Torrington Farmers Hunt support with no plates on their quads.

Time and hassle being constantly on alert for hunting

Twice a week, every week for half the year, you’ll probably find you’re on alert for the sound of hounds in cry, hunting horns, the shouts of hunters and the sound of multiple quad bikes loaded with followers zooming around the roads and fields. Because being hyper-vigilant is so bad for your mental and physical health, it can quickly wear you down.

Paying to fix hound damage

Fox hounds cause an awful mess, digging up lawns and plants, and leaving toxic poo all over the place. If an entire pack of fox hounds invades your place and spends enough time there, it can take  time, effort and money to fix the damage. You’re unlikely to get any compensation, let alone an acknowledgement or apology from hunt members.

Fox hunting crime stress and anger issues

As a law abiding person, it feels bad to know there are people living nearby who break the law so often and so blatantly. Their wildlife crimes and antisocial behaviour go against everything it means to be a decent human being. Seeing them getting away with it is hard to bear. You might end up with anger or anxiety issues to deal with. You might find it hard to sleep.

Potential threats from hunters, followers and supporters

In some places hunters, their supporters and followers are violent and threatening, which can be frightening. We hear all sorts of stories, from hunt supporters leaving piles of broken glass on someone’s lawn to breaking car windscreens and turning up on doorsteps to have a go.

Danger to pets and livestock

Most animals, wild and otherwise, are terrified by a pack of hunting hounds on the rampage – and they’re frequently on the rampage, allowed to run where they want to find fox scent. Foxhounds have been known to kill people’s cats and attack people’s dogs. Flocks of sheep, llamas, alpaca, pygmy goats and every other animal you might keep, they’re all at risk. Will you always have the time to put your animals somewhere safe when you hear hunting in progress nearby? Will you need to spend money on a secure place for them to hide if there’s a hound invasion when you’re not at home?


Andrew German assaults protestor

Excessive noise from fox hunt kennels, and packs of starving dogs

Fox hounds are treated notoriously badly, rarely given enough space, comfort, or food to thrive. This makes them miserable and they make a lot of noise, sometimes audible from a long distance. If you’re unlucky you might hear hounds being shot. Hunt staff shoot hounds when they’re too old to hunt (usually no more than 5 years old) as well as when they’re disobedient, misbehave, or turn out to be not very good at hunting. They’re starved before being taken out hunting too, which makes these big, friendly dogs desperate and potentially dangerous.

Roads blocked by hunt vehicles

Prepare to be stopped going about your everyday business by hunt supporters and followers who think you’re a Hunt Saboteur. Expect delayed journeys navigating tens of vehicles parked alongside dangerous winding rural roads and busy B roads with blind bends. Many hunts exercise their hounds on the roads, causing daily traffic delays and hazards.

Hunters ignoring requests to stay off your property

Hunters and their followers are known for being belligerent. You’ll probably find that asking them politely to keep off your land falls on deaf ears. If they think they can get away with trespassing and believe there’s a fox to be had, they’ll trespass whatever you say. Some deny it when they’re caught red-handed, others can get nasty about it.

Traumatising sights and sounds from fox hunting crime

When hounds are in cry, they’ve scented a fox. It is the sound of death, as are the screams of a fox or cub when they’re caught. Once you know what the dogs’ cries, the hunting horns and the shouts of hunters mean, you can’t help knowing what’s happening. You’ll need to find a way to deal with the feelings.


Torrington Farmers Hunt branch of the Pony Club - Boxing Day 2018

Piles of hound poo left to rot, a really nasty biohazard

Because they’re not well fed or looked after, fox hound poo is super-toxic, the last thing you want around children, pets, wildlife and livestock. Fox hunters are notorious for leaving hound poo wherever it drops, never picking it up so you eventually get huge, stinking piles of it in areas where they habitually exercise the dogs. If they trespass and crap in your garden you’ll need to get rid of it carefully and thoroughly.

A frightening experience for your children

Children naturally love animals. Normal people don’t hurt animals. It’s awful for children to hear and see fox hunting going on, killing the creatures that at least 90 percent of us respect, protect, and conserve.

Little or no help from local landowners

People who permit hunt crime on their land can be prosecuted under the Hunting Act. Sadly most of them either approve of fox hunt crime, are too intimidated to say no, or don’t care. You’ll be lucky to get help from hunt-enabling landowners whose property adjoins yours.

Little or no help from parish, town, district and county councils

Parish, town, district and county councils are infested with hunt-supporting officials. You’ll find it very frustrating to get such a poor response and so little help from the people who are supposed to serve us, not promote their own criminal interests.

An unreliable response from the police depending on your county

The police in some counties are making a big effort to improve their response to fox hunt crime. In other areas the police seem to openly support fox hunters instead of the people who are trying to stop them. It’s a postcode lottery that leaves people feeling infuriated, frustrated, and helpless.


Sub-standard Statute legislation that makes it hard to take hunts to court

The Hunting Act 2004 was trashed on its way through the House of Lords, leaving it with more loopholes than a pair of fishnets. The police say the Act is more or less completely ineffective, making it hard to get a criminal case to court and win convictions. On the bright side fox hunt convictions are starting to happen and civil offences like trespass, dog fouling and other kinds of antisocial behaviour are giving ordinary people different, simpler routes to fight local hunt crime.

What to do about fox hunting crime

If fox hunting didn’t exist rural areas would be heavenly wildlife havens, fantastic places to live. Luckily, as consumers, we have some power. Insisting on knowing about fox hunting before we buy or rent sends a warning to hunt-supporting estate agencies, and it’s an eye-opener for those who don’t realise it’s a problem. When enough of us ask, we’ll eventually force the estate agencies we pay so generously to do a better job for us.


With sky high rents and property prices, the last thing you need is to pay even more to protect your home, kids, and animals. If you know anyone who wants to move to the country, pass this on to save them heartache and expense.