Speak Out Against Coyote and Fox Penning in VA

Coyote photo copyright Jim Robertson

Coyote photo copyright Jim Robertson

From Project Coyote:

Penning, the practice of confining coyotes and foxes in fenced enclosures and allowing packs of dogs to chase and often maul them for “sport” and “entertainment”— with little opportunity for protection or escape— is a cruel and vicious practice that is prevalent in Virginia and several other states. Every year, thousands of wild canids are traded and sold to penning operations, both legally and illegally— after being trapped in the wild.

Aside from the suffering and inhumane treatment, penning also leads to the spread of diseases within and between domestic and wild canids. Tests reveal evidence of canine distemper and a variety of viral diseases, including canine parvovirus, canine coronavirus, canine herpesvirus, and canine parainfluenza virus, as well as over 20 species of parasites.

In 2012, the Virginia state legislature considered bills from the Senate and House of Delegates proposing to ban penning, but unfortunately the bills died in committee. Now the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is proposing to amend state regulations on penning.

However, the proposed regulations would not ban the practice outright, but merely establish standards that will allow much of the cruelty to continue. They can also be waived at the discretion of the VDGIF director, should they be deemed too “onerous” for a penning facility operator. Although the regulations would prohibit the use of coyotes in penning facilities, they do not offer the same protection to foxes, which can still be chased and torn apart by the dogs. Moreover, they do not mandate that operators obtain rabies vaccinations for dogs used in penning trials, thereby promoting the spread of disease.

What You Can Do:

Please contact VDGIF today and request that it ban penning outright. Note: Letters from outside of Virginia will be considered in the official record; however you MUST include personal contact information in your emails/letters or the VDGIF may discount your comments. Please submit your comments no later than May 31, 2013 by 5 p.m. EDT.

The channels for submitting written comments during the proposed regulation public comment period are:
• Online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov
• Email regcomments@dgif.virginia.gov Be sure to include full personal identifying information
• Postal mail:
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Attn: Policy Analyst and Regulatory Coordinator
4010 West Broad Street
P.O. Box 11104, Richmond, VA 23230-1104
• Comment forms available at public input meetings
If you live in Virginia please consider attending and testifying at the next public meeting on the topic (individuals will have 3 min. to testify):

When: Thursday, June 13, at 9:00 a.m.
Where: 4000 West Broad Street in Richmond, VA
More info.: http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/meetings/

Suggested talking points:
• Capturing, transporting, marketing, and penning wild animals for dog training is inherently cruel, and should be banned for this reason alone. Pitting domestic canines against their wild cousins is ethically indefensible and parallels dog fighting- a practice now banned in the U.S. At least 3,600 foxes have died in pens in Virginia in the last three years alone. In many cases, the wild canids are mauled to death by the dogs.
• Penning facilities transmit diseases between wild canids and domestic animals, including rabies and parasites. Wild animals sold into these facilities are often transported from out of state without regulation or inspection.
• Virginia lacks the resources to enforce the proposed regulations. There are too few conservation officers to properly oversee that penning facilities follow the regulations.
• By allowing penning operators to waive out of minimal requirements, such as providing food and water to the foxes, the proposed regulation (4VAC15-290-160) effectively leaves penning operations unregulated.
• The Florida Fish and Game Commission banned coyote and fox banning statewide in 2010 because of ecological, ethical, and economic concerns; Virginia should do the same.
Thank you for taking action for our canine friends. Please share this action alert far and wide!

See Also: Coyote and Fox Penning: A Blood “Sport” That Must End, by Project Coyote’s Camilla Fox.


6 thoughts on “Speak Out Against Coyote and Fox Penning in VA

    • Good question. Maybe because, as another reader commented: … minority special interest groups seem to have a stronger say in wildlife management than ordinary citizens and even more unfortunate this minority does not seem to have any sense of fair play or ethics when it comes to wildlife.

  1. Signed and sent Jim! I think the reason the minority gets so much say is it because if it wasn’t for them fishing wildlife services would not exist they’re like township workers getting a paycheck for doing nothing , the only reason it still exist is the tradition of those assholes!

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