Ban Fox and Coyote Penning

Will You Help End Their Suffering at Canned Hunting Operations in Florida?



FWC Meeting – Orlando Marriott – June 23rd – 9:30 a.m.

 

What:         Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

                  Hearing on

                  Fox and Coyote Penning

When:        June 23, 2010 starting at approximately 9:30-10:00 a.m.

Where:       Orlando Marriott Lake Mary

                  1501 International Parkway

                  Lake Mary, FL  32746 (Orlando area)

 

Though dogfighting and cockfighting are illegal in all states, most people are unaware that Florida allows penning wildlife for fighting.  Dogs pursue captive foxes and coyotes confined in fenced enclosures for these "sport" competitions which are, in reality, canned hunts where the terrified animals are ripped apart and betting takes place on the dog who will kill and maim the most.

 

On Wednesday, June 23rd, the Florida Wildlife Commission will be discussing the continued allowance of fox and coyote penning.  We need your help to put an end to this barbaric practice.  People who participate in fox and coyote penning have attended past meetings in large numbers, which makes it appear that more people support this horrific activity than the few who actually do.  Read an insider report about these operations at http://www.hsus.org/wildlife_abuse/news/insider_ugliness_wildlife_penning.html

 

We need animal advocates to attend this meeting and testify–however briefly–in support of a complete, immediate ban on this inhumane practice, and to show the state wildlife agency that the vast majority of Floridians strongly oppose such animal baiting inside fenced enclosures.

 

If you can not attend the meeting, please use this direct link to the FWC to voice your opposition to fox and coyote penning.  Ask that this "sport" be banned altogether – NOT regulated.

 

 

Thank you so much for sharing this information and helping anyway you can!

Mamie Henderson had been involved in the daily operation of a wildlife penning facility for nearly two years and recently spoke to Fox 5 in Atlanta to expose the cruelty of this practice.

Now she shares with The HSUS her first-hand account of what occurs regularly in these brutal pens.

Q. What happens to the animals chased by dogs in wildlife pens?

A. They are killed by the dog pack. The pack chases the terrified animals until the dogs catch them and rip them apart. The pens constantly need to be restocked with wildlife. There are sometimes 300-700 dogs at a time turned loose to kill these animals. Some hunts last for three days.

I even saw foxes and coyotes run near a campground and get killed in front of the campers and their small children.

It cost $40 to $100 per dog to "cast" the dog—or to let the dog run in the pen—in addition to a $10 to $25 membership fee. Some hunters run as many as 25 hounds in the pen.

Q. What happens to the dogs?

A. The dogs also are subjected to cruelty in the pens. Their feet are soaked in formaldehyde or other chemicals so they don't feel the pain of the continual chase. The hounds are given steroids the morning before they are cast. They are injected with vitamin B-12 before the hunt to make them faster.

Q. What happens to the dogs who fail to perform well?

A. They are killed, or, if they have a good bloodline and are worth money, they are sold. They are sometimes killed if they cannot finish a race. One dog was beat in the head with a hammer, because apparently a dog is not even worth the cost of a bullet if he gets "scratched" during a hunt. Getting scratched means that the dog did something wrong or was not fast enough to kill the game.

Q. What happens to the animals not killed after a chase?

A. In between chases, the animals have access to dog food. The wild animals who have not been killed by the dog pack are so hungry that when they hear an auto or four-wheeler, they will come out of hiding, hoping to be fed. Sometimes they are so hungry that they will eat the animals just killed in the hunt. I was in charge of putting food out and was not supposed to put it out until the foxes and coyotes still alive had eaten all the dead ones.

Q. How long does it usually take for the dogs to capture and kill a coyote or fox?

A. As soon as the dogs are cast, a killing will take place. I had to count all the dead I found and multiply by two, and that was about how many fresh animals we had to replace in the pen. The 300-600 cast hounds could kill around 30-60 foxes.

The foxes are killed right away; you just hear a yelp when the dogs find them. But the coyotes fight back. To keep the chase going we "banded" the tails of the coyotes so that within a couple of weeks the tails drop off. This makes the chase longer because mud and ice don't get stuck on their tails and slow them down. There would be tails everywhere when I went out to check the fences. But eventually the coyotes can't fight anymore and are killed, too.

Q. How many foxes and coyotes are usually used?

A. We bought $60,000 worth the first year. We bought from any and every state that would sell to us. We had to go pick the animals up at a truckstop, or there were dealers from different states that brought the animals to us.

For gray foxes we paid $10-$25. For red foxes we paid $50-$100, because they run longer, so they are worth more. Coyotes are bought for $50-$150 and bobcats for $5-$20.

Q. Where and how are the foxes and coyotes who are used in wildlife pen fighting obtained?

A. Bigger foxes exotic to Georgia are frequently trapped out of state and smuggled across the border to be stocked in pens. The animals are piled one on top of the other, and some of the foxes arrive at the pen smothered to death. Pen operators are not worried about that, because it is just a cost of doing business, and they can buy more foxes or coyotes.

Q. Is there betting involved?

A. Yes, there is someone that comes around with what is called the "calcutta," and the participants bet on whose dogs will get the highest scores before the hounds are cast. There are side bets, and as much as $2,000 is bet on one hunt.


FYI, Gainesville Sun Editorial, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and letters to the editor printed today calling for a ban on fox and coyote pens:

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100618/OPINION01/100619514/1076/opinion?Title=Editorial-Penned-sadism

Editorial: Penned sadism

Published: Friday, June 18, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.

Putting foxes and coyotes in fenced enclosures and allowing dogs to chase them down and tear them apart is sadism, and the state of Florida needs to put an end to it.

Here is a description of the "sport," as provided by the Humane Society of the United States:

"Foxes and coyotes are taken from the wild, sold to pen operators, and "stocked" in these pens, and then dozens of dogs are released at a time and judged on how long the dogs will pursue the captive wild animals. Even though pens can be hundreds of acres in size, the dogs often harm and kill the fenced wildlife, fueling a constant demand to stock enclosures with more foxes and coyotes.

"Escape is not the point of the game and dogs often catch and tear apart the captive wildlife."

When the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meets on June 23 it ought to ban the practice. It is as cruel and indefensible as dog fighting and cock fighting, both illegal activities.

As former Alachua County Animal Services director John Snyder pointed out in a June 16 guest column, one of the county's worst rabies outbreaks began after dogs were set loose to chase down penned infected coyotes. "And it could happen again if fox pens are continued," Snyder wrote. "This is a reprehensible practice dangerous to animals and humans."

Where is the sport in trapping wild animals and throwing them into penned enclosures to be run to ground and torn to shreds? This is indeed a reprehensible practice that needs to be banned in the name of humanity.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/letters/fl-fox-pens-letter-0618-20100618,0,1691151.story

FWC should ban fox pens

Renaming fox and coyote pens with bucolic terms like "fair chase" does not magically create a humane practice. Just like calling wrinkles "character lines" doesn't stop aging, the facts of fox pens cannot be diverted with terminology.

Foxes and coyotes are trapped, sold to fox pens, and then participants release dogs into the pen to chase the wildlife. The dogs are often scored in competitions on how long they can pursue the fenced animals. The enclosures may be hundreds of acres in size, but dogs still overcome and kill some of the enclosed animals.

Escape isn't the point of the game, and the few who visit pens count on their dogs always having a constant supply of animals to chase. Dozens of foxes and coyotes may be pumped into one pen during one year, and coyotes are now preferred to foxes because they last a bit longer in the pens than foxes.

In the past few years, law enforcement has uncovered a black market trade in foxes and coyotes to stock pens. Just last fall, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested 12 individuals for illegally buying and/or possessing foxes and coyotes to stock enclosures. See, the pens constantly need to buy more animals to replenish those killed within the pen.

There's no reason for Florida to condone this practice with regulations, and at its meeting next week, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation should prohibit pens once and for all.

Jen Hobgood, Florida state director, The Humane Society of the United States

http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20106180302

Wildlife Commission to review fox pens

On June 23, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission will review its policy on fox pens, places where foxes and coyotes are mauled and killed by dogs in fenced enclosures.

The current permit system allows pen operators to buy and truck trapped wild foxes and coyotes to stock these enclosures.

It is not uncommon for a single fox to be chased by a pack of dogs to the point of exhaustion at which point the dogs can overcome the captive animal, no matter how big the enclosure might be. It seems clear that this is an obvious act of cruelty, not to mention what this teaches Florida's children about treatment of wildlife.

FWC's efforts to address this antiquated practice should be applauded. After all, Floridians support humane treatment of all animals – we have certainly seen this in recent weeks with the number of good Samaritans interested in helping our marine wildlife affected by the oil disaster.

And the bottom line is that people are aghast when they learn that this has been legal in Florida. Florida can do better and the FWC should ban fox pens outright.

KATE MACFALL

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100618/COLUMNIST/6181010/2416/NEWS?p=1&tc=pg

Let's put an end to pens for coyotes and foxes

By Eric Ernst <mailto:eric.ernst@heraldtribune.com>

Published: Friday, June 18, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
( page 1 of 2 )

They may call it hunting, but that's an insult to real hunters.

INTERESTED? To participate in the FWC discussion, write to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, Fla. 32399-1600. Online, go to www.myfwc.com, click on "commission
meetings," then "commissioners," then "e-mail us."

The June 23 meeting is at 9:30 a.m. at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, 1501
International Pkwy., Lake Mary.

In this case, wild coyotes or foxes are trapped, packed and shipped to fenced areas where they are turned loose to run for their lives, day after day, from a pack of dogs.

If the dogs don't maul them to death, the wild animals die of disease.

Incredibly, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, an agency entrusted with managing the state's natural resources, has sanctioned the practice for more than 20 years.

That could change soon.

Next week in Orlando, the commission will decide whether to ban the fox/coyote pens, phase them out by 2013 or let them continue to operate under stricter rules.

The vote here is to ban.

Maybe the penning started out as a decent idea. In the 1980s, as Florida grew and open land disappeared, the owners of hunting dogs needed places to train their animals.

The pens opened mostly in the northern part of the state, ranging from 100 acres (the minimum allowed) to 743 acres at Sand Sifters in Marianna County. Handlers paid to enter their dogs in competitions.

The result, however, has been anything but sporting.

All pens were supposed to be permitted. The permits are free, but many landowners did not apply. Probably, they did not want to adhere to FWC rules, which require, for instance, dog-proof escape hatches for the prey, records of veterinary care and special training to possess foxes and coyotes.They may call it hunting, but that's an insult to real hunters.

INTERESTED?

To participate in the FWC discussion, write to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, Fla. 32399-1600. Online, go to www.myfwc.com, click on "commission
meetings," then "commissioners," then "e-mail us."

The June 23 meeting is at 9:30 a.m. at the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, 1501
International Pkwy., Lake Mary.

Related Links:

*       Ernst: Training dogs to hunt, or just watching them kill? <http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20100207/COLUMNIST/2071057/2416/NEWS>

In this case, wild coyotes or foxes are trapped, packed and shipped to fenced areas where they are turned loose to run for their lives, day after day, from a pack of dogs.

If the dogs don't maul them to death, the wild animals die of disease.

Incredibly, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, an agency entrusted with managing the state's natural resources, has sanctioned the practice for more than 20 years.

That could change soon.

Next week in Orlando, the commission will decide whether to ban the fox/coyote pens, phase them out by 2013 or let them continue to operate under stricter rules.

The vote here is to ban.

Maybe the penning started out as a decent idea. In the 1980s, as Florida grew and open land disappeared, the owners of hunting dogs needed places to train their animals.

The pens opened mostly in the northern part of the state, ranging from 100 acres (the minimum allowed) to 743 acres at Sand Sifters in Marianna County. Handlers paid to enter their dogs in competitions.

The result, however, has been anything but sporting.

All pens were supposed to be permitted. The permits are free, but many landowners did not apply. Probably, they did not want to adhere to FWC rules, which require, for instance, dog-proof escape hatches for the prey, records of veterinary care and special training to possess foxes and coyotes.

An FWC undercover investigation last year led to 12 arrests for black market animal trading. In February, the commission suspended fox/coyote pen operations. At the time, only Sand Sifters was open. Since then, 15 pens have obtained temporary authorization permits.

It's time to finally shut them down.

"Cruelty happens when nobody's looking. We can't say we don't know about this. And the FWC knows about it," says Becky Pomponio of Sarasota.

Pomponio, a local representative of Project Coyote, intends to fly from her summer home in North Carolina to testify at the FWC hearing.

The coyote/fox pen practices are so inherently inhumane that they've galvanized statewide opposition, including from some legislators. State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, wrote a June 11 letter to the commissioners urging a ban.

While tightening regulations might seem a tempting compromise, other states have tried many of the proposed rules without success. They're simply too hard to enforce.

One compelling letter to the commissioners came from Martin Main, a University of Florida ecologist who often advises the FWC on coyote issues.

After dispelling arguments that pens benefit native wildlife populations by removing coyotes and help control coyote populations, Main takes on the issue of hunting.

He quotes from a renowned hunting organization founded by Teddy Roosevelt in 1887: "The Boone and Crockett Club condemns the pursuit and killing of any big game animal kept in or released from captivity to be killed in an artificial or bogus 'hunting' situation where the game lacks the equivalent chance to escape afforded free-ranging animals."

Penning isn't sport. It's slaughter. Just ask the real hunters.

Eric Ernst <http://www.heraldtribune.com/section/TOPIC090302/> 's column runs Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Contact him at eric.ernst@heraldtribune.com or (941) 486-3073.

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
Carole.Baskin@BigCatRescue.org
http://www.BigCatRescue.org

Caring for cats – Ending the trade

Join more than 19,000 Big Cat Rescue fans http://www.facebook.com/pages/Big-Cat-Rescue-Tampa-FL/122174836956?ref=ts

Twitter:  Follow Me and get a free wild cat screen saver or ecard account @BigCatRescue

How much did you like this?

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

Leopard Mauls Six People

Big Cat Attacks 2006 2010

See recent big cat killings, maulings, escapes and stats here: https://bigcatrescue.org/big-cat-attacks See recent big cat ...

Report: Taunting preceded tiger attack

Report: Taunting preceded tiger attack Published: Jan. 3, 2008 at 8:01 AM SAN FRANCISCO, ...

Wildlife Board Says Tigers and All Endangered Species Need Protection

New Delhi, Sep 30 — Tigers, lions and elephants in India get all the ...