A POLICE officer passionate about animal rights has rehomed a hound used for hare coursing.

A resident called police to a hare coursing incident with a sight hound and four men on farmland between Stones Green and Tendring Village on January 27.

The coursers were seen by officers on a field with one of the dogs running around their 4x4.

As soon as they saw the police they drove off and left one of the dogs behind.

The "timid" and "nervous" pooch was then caught by the officers and taken to the police station.

An officer, from Harwich's policing team who asked not to be named, said the dog was beautiful and the officers fussed over her.

She said: "I felt really strongly about her not going to a shelter or kennel for a prolonged period of time and said I would have her as I’ve been wanting a new dog for championship for my other dog Boris.

"I had been recently looking at dog shelters to adopt a dog and I’m a strong believer in animal rights and felt it was more appropriate to adopt a dog as there are so many loving dogs in kennels and shelters that desperately need a home."

The police officer named her Willow as she was thin and looked "willowy" and seemed to respond to the name.

She said: "Willow has settled really well into her new home, I think she's only a puppy as she wants to play all the time with Boris.

"She is really well behaved, she is great to walk as she never pulls and we’ve been able to let her off the leash.

"She is very affectionate and trusting of people so that is a positive and she adores my partner as she will curl up next to him and sleep by his side."

The officer said hare coursing is a cruel sport and once the hare is caught dogs often fight for possession which is not a humane way for any animal to die.

"The dogs are often starved so they will hunt on sight of the hares and are over worked to the point were they will collapse out of exhaustion," she added.

"Willow has many scars and bite marks on her, they are kept and chained either outside in all weather conditions and are usually left in packs were fighting occurs and dominance.

"Willow is only young so is very submissive to other dogs and will shy away from anything that barks at her."

If you see any hare coursing in the district call Essex Police on 101.