Sport of fur trapping helps with the beaver problem

This week I want to explore a different sport than one that involves around a ball: the sport of trapping.

The first question that many might ask is trapping a sport? Yes, it is a sport that is licensed and regulated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife in the same manner that they regulate bass fishing or deer hunting.

However, trapping as a sport, like many hunting activities, is in a serious decline and this is having an impact on our local beaver population.

Animal trapping or trapping is defined as the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. My focus is on the topic of fur trapping, which has become a hot topic in the western Kentucky coalfields.

From a historical perspective trapping was done for a variety of reasons including for food, fur trade, hunting, pest control and wildlife management. Trapping in this portion of the state includes trapping animals such as beavers, coyotes, bobcats, mink and muskrats.

Historically trappers in Kentucky hunt for two primary reasons: 1) the fur and 2) control the nuisance of certain animals such as the nuisance trapping we now see for coyotes here in Hopkins and Webster counties.

Locally, fur trapping hit a revival in late November and early December in Hopkins County under the leadership of Frank Williams, the Second District Commission member for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Williams recently noted in a speech to the Madisonville Lions Club, “I was getting a tremendous amount of complaints from property owners, farmers and other individuals of the tremendous damage that beavers were doing in Western Kentucky, particularly in Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties.”

Williams pointed out that the beaver population has exploded in our area and that there was a tremendous amount of damage to county roads, crop land and timber.

In fact, the Hopkins County Road Department estimated over a three-year period it has spent over $100,000 in replacement of gravel and grade work due to beaver damage.

With this tremendous damage occurring, Williams solicited the help of the United Trappers of Kentucky. This group is a statewide sportsmen’s organization of Kentucky fur trappers whose primary goal is the enhancement of trapping as a sport.

Unfortunately, trapping as a sport has been in tremendous decline. In the late 1980s there were over 4,000 licensed trappers in Kentucky.

Williams noted, “Currently we are selling about 2,200 trapping licenses a year but we estimate only about 500 active trappers.”

After Williams called, the United Trappers of Kentucky under the leadership of President Chet Hayes and Vice President Steven Rickard assembled a group of volunteers to come to Hopkins and Muhlenberg counties. Because of the success in beaver trapping here the group will go to Union County this March.

During the period of Nov. 26-28, 2017, the United Trappers of Kentucky harvested 186 beavers and Hopkins County Fiscal Court employees harvested another 20 for 206 trapped beavers.

Williams and the local road department, farmers and property owners were very pleased and it is hoped that this will spur some interest in fur trappers returning next year.

Williams noted the crux of the problem of an exploding beaver population is based upon the price of beaver pelt.

Williams stated, “A beaver pelt today will sell for between $10 to $12 whereas 20, 25 years ago it sold for $35 to $50.”

There is still a market in Russia for beaver pelt but it has declined.

In fact, the market for other fur has also declined, with raccoons averaging $5 a pelt, muskrat about $3 a pelt and the once very expensive mink is now about $8 a pelt as most minks that are used in mink furs are today grown in mink farms in Israel.

The decline in the price for the pelts along with the general decline in hunting has caused a tremendous decline in fur trappers and therefore led to many of the problems we are seeing today with beavers.

Williams has a basic solution to the beaver problem stating, “We need to have a subsidized program of some manner to encourage fur trapping as a sport and have fur trapping come back as a popular sport. If there are trappers out there, they will control the beavers and in the long run this will help road departments, taxpayers, crop owners and timber land owners.”

Whether we live in a city or in rural parts of western Kentucky beavers and fur trapping can have an economic impact on us.


Florida shooting suspect had a history of…killing animals  

by  William Wan, Kevin Sullivan and Julie Tate, The Washington Post

Published 9:16 pm, Thursday, February 15, 2018

PARKLAND, Fla. — The killing began with the squirrels. As a fourth-grader,
Nikolas Cruz would try to bloody them with his pellet gun. Then he started
going after chickens.

By the time Cruz was a teenager, he was sneaking into his neighbors’ yard
across the street and trying to get his dogs to kill their baby potbelly

One resident watched him take long sticks to rabbit holes, ramming them down
as hard as possible to kill any creatures trapped inside.
Instagram posts and photographs, including one showing a gun’s laser sight
pointed at a neighborhood street. Another appeared to show a dead frog’s
bloodied body.

But no one – not those who feared him nor those who sympathized – glimpsed
the full malevolence brewing inside Cruz’s heart until Valentine’s Day, when
police say he walked into a suburban south Florida high school and carried
out one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.

z-Guns-12615785.php> Florida shooting suspect had a history of explosive
anger, depression, killing animals


Borneo has lost half its orangutans due to hunting and habitat loss

‘Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape’

Borneo has lost more than 100,000 orangutans in the space of just 16 years as a result of hunting and habitat loss, according to a new report.

Logging, mining, oil palm, paper, and linked deforestation have been blamed for the the diminishing numbers.

However, researchers also found many orangutans have vanished from more intact, forested regions, suggesting that hunting and other direct conflict between orangutans and humans continues to be a chief threat to the species.

The report published in the Current Biology Journal found more than 100,000 of the island’s orangutans vanished in the period of 1999 to 2015.

“Orangutans are disappearing at an alarming rate,” said Emma Keller, agricultural commodities manager at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“Their forests homes have been lost and degraded, and hunting threatens the existence of this magnificent great ape.

“Immediate action is needed to reform industries that have pushed orangutans to the brink of extinction. UK consumers can make a difference through only supporting brands and retailers that buy sustainable palm oil.”

Around half of the orangutans living on the island of Borneo, the largest island in Asia, were lost as a result of changes in land cover.

Researchers said the Bornean orangutan’s survival is dependent on forging successful alliances with logging companies and other industries and raising public awareness of the issue.

Looking at predicted future losses of forest cover and the presumption orangutans are ultimately not able to stay alive outside forest areas, the researchers predict that over 45,000 more orangutans will be lost in the space of the next 35 years.

The report comes after an orangutan was shot at least 130 times with an air gun before it died earlier in the month, according to police in Borneo.

Inside the grim scene of a Korean dog meat farm, just miles from the Winter Olympics


WONJU, South Korea – A short drive from the burning Olympic torch and the excited throng of Winter Games spectators, there was no cheering outside the place where hundreds of dogs are packed in cages until they are killed for their meat.

In the rural region of Wonju, down a winding country lane, sits a farm that provides dog meat to some of the thousands of South Korean restaurants where patrons order things such as dog salad, dog ribs, dog stew and dog hot pot.

The grim surroundings of the farm pains the senses. The first thing to be noticed is the sound, pitiful whines and yelps of about 300 animals being kept in filthy cages until their execution.

Step closer and the stench fills the nostrils, a sickening waft that spreads over two long rows of cramped cages.

Some of the dogs do not survive long enough to be slaughtered. Lying discarded on the mud floor by the plastic awning, the carcass of a dead Tosa – a rare breed that originated in Japan. Also in the cages were Jindos, St. Bernards and golden Labradors.

Most were emaciated. Many had gaps in their fur where huge sores grew on their bodies. The cages are elevated, set up so dog feces drops through gaps in the wire bottom, collecting in huge piles beneath.

More: Olympics shine spotlight on dog meat trade in South Korea

USA TODAY video journalist Sandy Hooper and myself filmed the gruesome scene for 15 minutes on Saturday morning, using GoPros and iPhones. When we approached the front of the property in an attempt to speak to the owners, a man screamed in Korean: “Turn it off, otherwise I’m going to throw it down!”

The Winter Olympics is supposed to be one giant commercial for South Korea and its winter tourism industry, but no public relations effort can cast a favorable light on the Korean dog meat industry. Pyeongchang organizing officials were aware enough of the likely international reaction to Korean dog meat eating practices that they paid nearby restaurants to take down signs advertising the product’s availability and pleaded with them to take it off the menu – at least during the Olympics.

It didn’t work. Two miles from Jinbu station, the main hub serving the primary mountain cluster of the Games, a trio of restaurants openly served dog products. They had amended their frontage signs to remove the word “bosintang” (dog meat stew) and promote goat meat instead, but that was only outside.

Walk inside and glance up at the giant white board and the first four menu items, in English and Korean, are derived from man’s best friend. An elderly Korean man removed his shoes, entered the room, ordered the stew and sat down at a row of tables on the floor. Soon, he was served the thick brown concoction and began slurping down the soup until it was all gone.

In Korean culture, dog meat is said to have mythical properties that boost restorative powers and increase virility. Fearing a backlash from traditionalists, the Korean government won’t amend the law, despite president Moon Jae-In having adopted a dog saved from the meat industry.

Pyeongchang organizers wish government officials would take action.

“We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea,” an organizing committee statement read. “This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the Games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any Games venue.”

Eating dog meat is a custom here and it is hard to dispute that. In the United States millions of animals of countless varieties are slaughtered each year for meat. To some, the plight of Korean dogs is scarcely any different to that of American chicken, cows or pigs. To others, there is something vastly different about a dog, given its relationship to humans.

Activists in Korea don’t like the use of dogs for meat but mainly focus their protest efforts on the methods of killing the animals and their conditions in captivity.

“If the Korean people stop eating dog meat there will not be the market for it,” Kim Jun-Won, president of the Dasom animal rights organization said, fighting back tears when shown photographs of our footage as we returned to our vehicle. “But this is wrong and it breaks my heart. The people who keep animals this way and kill them? They are the devil.”

Demand is decreasing, with dog meat meals not particularly popular with younger members of Korean society. As well as the one described above, USA TODAY Sports visited two other farms in the area that showed signs of being operational recently. Both were closed, with the dried feces and even bones of deceased dogs still visible.

“The problem is that while smaller facilities close due to lack of business, larger, better organized ones are popping up,” Kiana Kang, director of programs and special projects of American non-profit rescue organization Animal Hope and Wellness said. “This is the two Koreas. There is the beauty and the culture, and then there is this.”

Korean dog farmers claim their sole intention is to try to make a living and insist the animals are the same as livestock.

A group of Winter Olympic athletes, including Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis took part in a recent public service announcement in a bid to raise awareness about the Korean dog meat trade. Duhamel already owns a rescue Korean dog.

The United States and Canada are leaders in trying to rescue Korean dogs and provide them with a new life. In a recent USA TODAY Sports interview, Californian couple Lana Chung Peck and her husband Kevin Peck described how many of the animals they foster and rehabilitate through the Save Korean Dogs organization have significant issues.

Chung Peck said her dogs cannot initially walk properly on grass or firm ground, because most of their lives had previously been spent in the cages, scrambling to get firm footing on the hard thin metal.

Meanwhile, at the Games, the first medals were being doled out. The plight of Korea’s dogs isn’t going to be the major narrative of the Games, the events themselves and the lingering political turmoil dominate the headlines.

But it is here, happening not far from the Olympics, and it’s tough to stomach.

Dog Meat Still on the Menu at South Korea Olympics

A handful of South Korean restaurants near the venues of the Winter Olympics are defying a government push to take dog meat off menus for the duration of the games, Channel News Asia reported.

The opening ceremony takes place on Friday in Pyeongchang county, with athletes from over 90 countries and tens of thousands of tourists from  South Korea and abroad expected to flock to the region. In a bid to avoid controversy over the culinary customs of eating dog meat, local authorities have tried to curb the serving of canine delicacies by offering nearby restaurants subsidies to temporarily alter their menus.

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But only a small minority appear to have taken up the government on the offer, Pyeongchang County government official Lee Yong-bae told AFP.

“We’ve faced a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood,” he said. Of the 12 dog meat restaurants in the county, only two have complied, Lee said on Thursday. According to him, a handful entertained agreeing to scrap dog meat from the menu but have already seen a drop in sales.


Puppies are seen in a cage at a dog meat market in Yulin, in China’s southern Guangxi region on June 21, 2017. China’s most notorious dog meat festival opened in Yulin on June 21, 2017, with butchers hacking slabs of canines and cooks frying the flesh following rumours that authorities would impose a ban this year. STR/AFP/Getty Images

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“Some of them initially shifted to selling pork or things instead of dog meat only to find their sales plunging sharply,” he said. “They then switched back to dog meat.”

Signage advertizing dog meat dishes has nonetheless become less prominent, as the restaurants are seeking to avoid giving “a bad impression to foreigners” during the Games, he added.

The custom of treating dogs as livestock and using them for sustenance is increasingly becoming a taboo in South Korea, with the country’s government branding them a “detestable” kind of meat. There are, however, no explicit legal punishments for the cooking of dog meat and a minority of South Koreans still do so.

Last year, authorities closed Moran market in Seongnam, the largest dog meat venue, which sold over  80,000 dogs a year. It accounted for about a third of South Korea’s dog meat consumption, according to local media estimates.

This article was first written by Newsweek

$1,000 reward offered for conviction of snaring culprit

Vancouver non-profit responding to a spate of deaths involving grizzly bears, wolves and moose

Conservation Officer Service photo One of several snares discovered in the Kitimat River Valley. Conservation Officer Service photo

A Vancouver-based non-profit is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for a series of illegal snaring incidents in the Kitimat River Valley.

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals made the offer public Thursday (Feb. 8) afternoon. “These disturbing incidents need to be condemned by all, and our hope is that this reward will help bring more attention to the case,” said spokesperson Adrian Nelson. “Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Conservation Officer Service so that the individual or individuals responsible can be stopped and face the consequences for their actions.”

Earlier this week the Terrace office of the Conservation Officer Service appealed for public assistance in their investigation, noting charges may be applicable under the Provincial Wildlife Act as well as the Canada Criminal Code for cruelty to animals and mischief.

Evidence was found throughout the valley where heavy-gauge wire had been used in attempts to capture large animals.

“So far we have located dead grizzly bears, wolves, and coyotes with evidence that moose are being caught as well. It’s beyond my comprehension why someone would think it is acceptable to indiscriminately snare our wildlife in such a callous calculated manner,” Sgt. Tracy Walbauer had said.

READ MORE: Public’s help sought in cruel and prolific animal snaring activity

“That the person responsible for this has no regard for wildlife and the snares are poorly designed and illegal — those animals observed in the snares endured a great deal of suffering before death.”

The locations identified so far have been semi-remote but Walbauer was concerned there may be traps closer to human habitation.

In a telephone interview with The Fur-Bearers, Nelson said it’s been about two years since the association has offered a reward in this manner, but the seriousness of these incidents justified the action.

“It’s the waste of wildlife in this case,” he said. “It’s one thing if someone is out subsistence hunting, but in this case it just seems flagrant that someone is putting traps in the bush and not coming back to check them.

“And it’s the range of animals that’s really scary. To be honest it’s one of the worst [cases] that we’ve seen.”

Nelson added The Fur-Bearers have a good-standing relationship with the Terrace COS and is optimistic the reward will prompt public tips to assist in their investigation.

“We don’t see a lot of this stuff, on this scale, in that area,” Nelson said. “For it to show up like this is kind of odd…people live there and move out there for that connection to the wildlife, so this wasting of wildlife I think will irk a lot of people.”

Anyone with information on the snaring activity in Kitimat River Valley is asked to contact the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

READ MORE: Moose collisions prompt warning from Conservation

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals was founded in 1953, according to its website, with a mission to end the commercial fur trade and promote co-existence between humans and wildlife.

Winter Olympics shines spotlight on dog meat trade in South Korea


2.5 million dogs are bred each year in South Korea for human consumption.
Combating the dog meat trade in Korea
2.5 million dogs are bred each year in South Korea for human consumption.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea – As the Winter Olympics approach this week, figure skater Meagan Duhamel still shudders to think the dog she rescued from South Korea might have ended up on someone’s dinner plate.

Duhamel, a Canadian, is a contender with Eric Radford in the pairs competition and heads to Pyeongchang in search of gold, as well as another dog that she can save from slaughter.

Nami Kim, a prominent campaigner based outside Seoul,

Nami Kim, a prominent campaigner based outside Seoul, has sent more than 1,200 rescued dogs to the United States through her Save Korean Dogs program.

Eating dog meat is common and legal in Korea, as well as many parts of Asia, and is mainly eaten by older people. Dotted around the country are thousands of restaurants serving “gaegogi” dishes that, according to folklore, have strengthening and medicinal properties.

“It is just sad because when the world is watching the Olympics little is known or spoken about the (Korean dog meat trade),” Duhamel told USA TODAY Sports. ”There are hundreds of dog meat farms tucked away and nobody is talking about this. The buzz will be about the Olympics.”

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According to The Associated Press, restaurants “nearly in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium” are still selling dog meat meals. According to the Humane Society International, around 2.5 million Korean dogs are killed for their meat each year.

The Korean government, realizing the issue is sensitive for foreigners, has offered money to restaurants if they stop serving dog meat during the Games and has requested that signs advertising the meals be covered up or removed.

“This is an Olympics story,” Marc Ching, a Bay Area activist who founded the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, said. “I am half Korean. Koreans are very proud of hosting the Olympics. Why this has to be tied to the Olympics is that the government itself is actually paying to hide this from the world. Maybe if … they just said ‘this is part of our culture,’ it would be different.”

In this photo from December, dog meat menus that explained

In this photo from December, dog meat menus that explained the dishes in English, Chinese and Japanese, are seen at Young Hoon Restaurant in Pyeongchang.

Animal rights activists claim that dogs, as well as cats, in the meat trade are subjected to horrific conditions and insist nothing is being done to end the practice. That is despite Korean President Moon Jae-in being a dog lover who recently adopted a pet saved from a dog meat farm. Campaigners are determined to use the Olympics to raise awareness and hope that support from athletes and international pressure may spark a change in legislation.

However, it is a difficult subject and, perhaps understandably, some athletes prefer not to speak out about something that is both culturally sensitive and controversial.

More: Vomiting illness spreads at Winter Olympics

More: Go behind the scenes at the Athletes Village

“Every country and every culture has different traditions and we are always respectful of those,” American ice dance skater Alex Shibutani said. “I can’t speak too much because I’m just not familiar with their culture.”

According to Ching, the issue is less about the consumption of dog meat, and more about the stomach-turning practices that are used to slaughter the animals.

“In Korea they usually put a noose around the dog’s neck and take them out back, hang them and beat them,” Ching said. “Another method is they just smash their head open. Sometimes they do electrocution. They shock them and burn them or de-fur them. With electrocution many times they are still alive. It is terrible.”

In many parts of Asia, dogs are often tortured and beaten before they are killed as it is believed that the adrenaline makes the meat more tender. Korean farmers defend their right to keep dogs packed in cages and to treat them as any other animal being raised for human consumption.

“How can we sell (them) when we’re training and communicating with them individually?” Kim Sang-young, president of the Korean Dog Farmers Association told the Hankyoreh news site. “They’re just livestock. We raise them with affection so they don’t suffer, but the purpose is different.”

On Monday, USA TODAY Sports sent a message requesting comment to the official press office email account of the Pyeongchang organizing committee and to Nancy Park, spokesperson and director of international media relations for the 2018 Olympic organizing committee.

USA TODAY Sports received a reply from the news desk of the organizing committee, with its “official statement on dog meat consumption.”

The statement read: “We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea. This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the Games and the province and we will support the work of the province and government on this topic as needed. Also, dog meat will not be served at any Games venue.”

Ben, a rescue from South Korea, was fostered by the

Ben, a rescue from South Korea, was fostered by the Peck family in Irvine, Calif.

Pets stolen for meat

Nami Kim, a prominent campaigner based outside Seoul, has sent more than 1,200 rescued dogs to the United States through her Save Korean Dogs program. Several have been fostered by a family in Irvine, Calif., Lana Chung Peck, her husband Kevin and their two young children.

Chung Peck said that the mental scars of mistreatment run deep. When the dogs first arrive they are often unaccustomed to positive human interaction. That was the case with their current foster, a Jindo named Julie.

“She would be frightened of anything in front of her,” Chung Peck said. “Any human, any dog, any sudden movement.”

“At first the dogs who come are almost feral,” Kevin Peck added. “They don’t want to walk, don’t want to be touched. But within weeks they are almost like a puppy.”

Four years ago, dog protection became a major issue during the Winter Olympics, with the plight of the strays of Sochi touching the hearts of visitors. Gus Kenworthy, a slopestyle silver medalist in freestyle skiing, rescued several animals. So did members of the United States hockey team. Kenworthy did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

The Korean dog farming industry tries to draw a distinction between dogs as pets and dogs as food, but Ching says some dogs that end up in restaurants are stolen from family homes. Ching has rescued dogs from slaughterhouses and found microchips embedded in them.

He also highlighted the enduring popularity of “gaesoju,” a potion manufactured by boiling a dog whole, in a pot mixed with herbs. Ching says that because the dog’s intestines are not removed, fecal matter remains inside them. He and Nami Kim also say that dogs are kept in such poor conditions that many of them are dying and terribly sick.

“It takes a truly disgusting mind to treat dogs in this way,” renowned dog trainer and author Tamar Geller, who trained Oprah Winfrey’s pets, said. “Receiving such cruelty is not just a torture of a dog’s body but also its mental state. Some of these animals know nothing but fear from the start to the end of their lives.”

Olympics highlight issue

Internationally, the issue of Korean dog meat has not been widely publicized. The Olympics, however, has a habit of bringing things to the fore.

“It’s an industry that – even in Korea – the vast majority of the population is against,” actress and animal rights campaigner Pamela Anderson said via email. “Removing the signs is great but I’d like to see them remove the restaurants altogether. If you’re visiting Korea for the Olympics, they do have some great vegan restaurants.”

Duhamel, meanwhile, is focused on trying to achieve her Olympic ambition but hopes that her stance will encourage more people to adopt. Olympic visitors may also be able to volunteer to transport dogs back to North America, such as Duhamel is doing with Toronto-based Free Korean Dogs.

At first she thought her current dog’s name Mootae, had some symbolic significance as he had been rescued by a Buddhist monk. In actual fact, Mootae just means “not big.”

The issue, for those who care about it, is anything but small. Duhamel is deeply conscious of Korea’s cultural differences, even though “it is so removed from our reality.”

But eventually the matter bothered her so much that she decided to take action. And whether she wins gold or not, she will be taking something precious back home.

View|9 Photos
Olympic flame begins journey from Greece to South Korea for 2018 Games


Originally Published 5:15 a.m. PST Feb. 7, 2018

Updated 7:08 a.m. PST Feb. 7, 2018

Feds investigating shooting of a possible gray wolf in Marshall County

4A 3 col color WOLF.jpeg
Britton-area man Mike Werner shot and killed this animal that may be a gray wolf. Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the case, according to a state conservation officer. (Courtesy photo)

A Britton-area man is caught up in a federal investigation after shooting an animal that may be a gray wolf.

Mike Werner said he was hunting coyotes by a slough near Clear Lake in Marshall County on Jan. 13 when he shot and killed what he thought was a bigger, dark coyote that came up behind him about 100 yards away.

Immediately after shooting the animal, Werner said he realized it was much larger than a coyote and resembled a wolf.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the case.

Casey Dowler, a conservation officer with the state Game, Fish and Parks Department in Marshall County, said the animal is being tested at a federal lab.

Dowler would not give anymore information on the case since there is an active federal investigation into the shooting of the animal.

GFP Conservation Officer Supervisor Mike Klosowski said harvesting, trapping or recreational hunting of wolves is illegal.

Klosowski said any case involving gray wolves falls under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said GFP has no wolf management authority at this time.

“So when we have an incident where a gray wolf is killed by a member of the public, we’d likely respond to the call, do a preliminary investigation then pass it off to Fish and Wildlife Service,” Klosowski said. “Then they would do any kind of prosecution on their end, or not prosecute on their end.”

Klosowski said gray wolf sightings are uncommon in northeastern South Dakota, but transient wolves do come through the state from time to time.

“To the east we have Minnesota. Northern Minnesota has a healthy population of gray wolves,” he said. “Then when you go out west near Yellowstone National Park, you have a very healthy population of wolves out there too.”

He explained that wolves are known to venture away from their pack to start their own pack in a new territory.

 Although gray wolves have not established populations in South Dakota, the species is still illegal to kill in the state.

Klosowski said if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were to prosecute someone for killing a gray wolf the case would go to court.

Knowing that wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act and in South Dakota, Werner said he left the animal where it was shot and called the local game warden.

Werner said the animal had an old trapping injury on its foot, where it was missing a couple toes and part of its foot pad.

On another foot, the animal had a trapping device. Werner believes the animal was trapped and was able to break free of the chains that kept him immobilized.

Werner said if the lab testing results show the animal to be a dog-coyote hybrid, he will be able to take the animal home.

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were unable to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Meigs County man charged in operating ‘bearbaiting’ event

Clinton J. Bailey. (Photo/Meigs County Sheriff)

MEIGS COUNTY — A Meigs County man has been charged after the sheriff said he was suspected to have been operating a “bearbaiting” event.

Clinton J. Bailey, 51, is charged with 16 counts in connection with the event, three of which are unclassified felonies for animal fighting.

He also has two fourth-degree misdemeanor charges for animal fighting, two misdemeanor charges for falsification and nine dangerous animal misdemeanor charges.

He was arraigned on Jan. 24 and released on a personal recognizance bond, according to Meigs County Common Pleas Court online court records. His next appearance will be Feb. 26.

In November, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Enforcement Division executed a search warrant on Bush Road in Long Bottom, according to the Meigs County Sheriff. Bailey owned a bear and possessed a Dangerous Wild Animal Permit.

At that location, Bailey is alleged to have been operating a “bearbaiting” event whereby several hunting dogs were released inside an enclosure, attacking the bear. Officers received information Bailey was charging admission of $20 per dog to participate.

In addition to Bailey, and his juvenile son, seven males, two females and eight children were present at the event with the majority of participants being from West Virginia.

At least one child was observed inside an unapproved enclosure while dogs were attacking the loose bear. Two of the males had handguns.

Bearbaiting is defined under Animal Fights, Section 959.15 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Assistance was provided by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Drone Team, who obtained significant video footage of the illegal activity as well as the Washington County and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices who provided tactical assistance.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio State Highway Patrol provided significant assistance as well.

The bear was seized pursuant to the warrant by DWA program personnel.

NY Times Editorial: There’s a grim reality behind your Thanksgiving turkey

Observing an annual pre-Thanksgiving rite, President Trump pardoned two big white fluffy turkeys Tuesday in a photo op at the White House. (Named Drumstick and Wishbone, the birds will end up at an enclosure on the campus of Virginia Tech.) That leaves 46 million other turkeys that won’t get pardoned. Instead, they’ll wind up on someone’s dinner table during this holiday season, a fate that is expected to befall about 245 million gobblers all told this year. And none of them will make the journey from farm to table via the Willard InterContinental Hotel, where Drumstick and Wishbone hung out before Drumstick was ceremoniously presented to Trump.

No animals raised on factory farms are kept and killed under worse conditions than turkeys and chickens, which make up most of the animals raised for food in the U.S. Nearly 9 billion chickens are slaughtered each year for food. And because poultry is exempt from the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforces, there are not even minimum federal standards governing how they live or die.

Turkeys and so-called broiler chickens are genetically bred to grow fast (to satisfy our love for breast meat) and, typically, grow so big that they can barely walk by the time they are killed. As a result, they can suffer from painful skeletal disorders and leg deformities. The vast majority spend their short lives (about 47 days for chickens) in artificially lit, windowless, barren warehouse barns. So that turkeys won’t peck one another in these crowded barns, their beaks are painfully trimmed.

When it’s time to slaughter them, the live birds are shackled upside down on a conveyor belt, paralyzed by electrified water and then dragged over mechanical throat-cutting blades. The birds are supposed to be stunned unconscious by the electrified water, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes the birds miss the blades and end up tumbling into the tanks of scalding water, where they drown. These methods are so cruel that they would be prohibited by federal welfare laws — if the animals in question were cows or pigs.

These are the grim realities behind Americans’ traditional Thanksgiving meal. But there are ways to make life and death somewhat better for the turkeys that wind up on your table. Of course, we could all just eat less turkey and chicken, which would reduce the demand for these animals. But to make a bigger impact, the major buyers of chicken and turkey meat need to push their suppliers to adopt less grisly practices.

The Humane Society of the U.S. has launched a campaign to get producers to pledge to raise healthier, less bloated birds, to provide them with better living conditions — more space, more stimulating environments and more sunlight — and, perhaps most important, to render the birds unconscious before they are shackled and slaughtered. The campaign also seeks to persuade buyers to obtain meat only from producers that honor this pledge. Meanwhile, Temple Grandin, the animal science professor known for designing more humane procedures for slaughtering beef cattle, has called for “controlled atmosphere stunning,” a process of using gas to make the birds unconscious before they get shackled for slaughter.

Installing new procedures takes time and money. All the buyers and producers that have signed on to the Humane Society campaign have agreed to fully convert to a new system by 2024. Companies should be held to that time frame, and more should be encouraged to take that pledge. If enough consumers demand it, companies will do it. That’s not too much to ask for the sake of the bird you’ll be carving up on Thanksgiving.