Call off the dogs: Coalition sues DNR to halt Wisconsin wolf hunt

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has once again made headlines, but this time it’s not because of concerns over contaminated water. The latest controversy surrounds Wisconsin’s wolf hunt, set to begin October 15. A coalition of humane societies is trying to stop the hunt before it begins, due to concerns over the usage of dogs (Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to allow dogs to participate in wolf hunts) and possible violations of state law.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

A coalition of humane societies has sued the state Department of Natural Resources seeking to halt the state’s five-month wolf hunt, claiming the agency failed to put in place regulations to prevent the inhumane and cruel deaths of hunting dogs in confrontations with wolves.

The coalition includes “the Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, the Dane County Humane Society, the Wisconsin Humane Society, the Fox Valley Humane Society, the Northwood Alliance, and the National Wolfwatcher Coalition,” according to Ron Seely of the WSJ.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court charges that the agency failed to comply with parts of a state rule requiring the agency to impose restrictions on training and hunting with dogs. The agency also violated provisions that require the agency to “curtail unsafe proximity between dogs and wolves,” according to the lawsuit.

A former DNR wolf expert submitted testimony on what could happen if proper restrictions are not put into place:

“Dog packs that will be used to chase a wolf or a pack of wolves will be regarded by the wolves as a threat,” said Dick Thiel, a retired DNR wolf manager who submitted testimony as part of the lawsuit. “Attacks will be swift and furious. Dogs will be seriously injured and die, and wolves will be injured and die as they both fight by slashing out with their canines and carnassial teeth.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Jodi Habush Sinykin, worried that without proper restrictions and provisions there could be chaos.

“It will be mayhem,” said Sinykin, adding that the lawsuit proposes restrictions such as the use of leashes, breed restrictions, and special licensing requirements that require training for hunters who use dogs.

DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said the agency hasn’t had time to take a look at the case yet, but that it is “disappointed.”

The more I learn about the Wisconsin wolf hunt, the less I like it.


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3 thoughts on “Call off the dogs: Coalition sues DNR to halt Wisconsin wolf hunt

  1. Lisa, I certainly agree. Years ago I watched coyotes being “hunted” with dog packs in Kansas. I have seen dogs with an eyeball torn out and numerous other wounds. This is totally inhumane.

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