THE PSNI in Newtownabbey are investigating claims of illegal hunting using dogs and snares has been taking place in the Monkstown Wood area.
There have also been reports of missing cats in the Glenville area of Whiteabbey.
Inspector Stephen McGuigan said: “”I am aware that there is a great amount of public concern about the welfare of animals and particularly rumours of animal baiting.
“My colleagues and I did a walk through of Monkstown Wood today and we found no evidence of animal traps.
“That is not to say it isn’t happening.
“I know there is information out there in the community and I would appeal for you to share it with us, you don’t have to give your name and you will not be identified.
“I understand that people feel in fear for the local wildlife and indeed their own pets – I feel your anguish – and I am willing to listen to your concerns but most importantly – we need to hear about suspicious activity.
“Have you seen or heard anything that you thought was suspicious? Any vehicles that you can describe or individuals that you can describe?
“Also if you have a concern for your pets – please ensure for the time being at least that if you have cat you keep an eye on it and if possible maybe just keep it in the house.
“Also with dogs, take them for walks and don’t let them out to stray on their own.
“We are aware of cats going missing but right now there are very few direct reports from cat owners. Contact us and provide us with the details.
“We did find evidence of drug taking (pictured) and the message is clear – this will not be tolerated and I am increasing foot and cycle patrols in Monkstown Wood so if you are engaging in illegal drug taking or anti social behaviour, expect to be dealt with robustly.
“This area belongs to the Woodland Trust and Newtownabbey Borough Council – no one has permission to hunt here and if local police find that this has been happening we will proactively search out the perpetrators.
“My team will be in the area specifically targeting this activity at all hours.
“Anyone who has informatIon on suspicious activity please remember to phone the non-emergency number 101 and ask to be put through to Newtownabbey police.”