THREE men were arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after officers seized a number of dogs and hares in a raid in East Yorkshire.
The arrests in Howden were made by the RSPCA’s special operations unit and Humberside Police.
The men, who are suspected of being involved in the hunting of wildlife with dogs, have since been released after being interviewed by the RSPCA, which is heading the investigation.
The dogs – three terriers, two bull lurchers, a deerhound/greyhound cross, a whippet/Bedlington terrier cross and a collie/greyhound cross – and two Belgian hares, a breed of domestic rabbit which looks like a wild hare, have been placed in RSPCA care.
Some 40 per cent of all reported wildlife crime nationally comes from the East Riding.
Humberside Police wildlife officer PC Julie Turrell said: “I have previously asked residents to keep their eyes and ears open and report any incidents they may be aware of relating to poaching and wildlife crime.
“As a result of this, three men have been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Animal Welfare Act and the Badger Act.”
RSPCA special operations unit Chief Inspector Ian Briggs said: “I hope this sends a message to anyone involved in this kind of deliberate, abhorrent cruelty – we are actively seeking you and the next knock on the door could be us.”