Help Stop the Cruel Practice of Penning Coyotes & Foxes in Indiana

Your Comments Are Needed by May 18th

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission (INRC) is considering a proposed rule to legalize the practice of coyote/fox “penning” year-round. Penning involves capturing wild coyotes and foxes and then placing them in pens where they are mercilessly chased by packs of hunting dogs. This practice often leads to the coyote or fox being torn apart alive by the dogs. Penning enthusiasts claim the activity trains the dogs to better pursue and hunt foxes and coyotes in the wild.

In contrast, last year, INRC’s counterpart in Florida voted unanimously to permanently ban coyote and fox pens statewide. Contributing to this decision was a combination of public outrage, heightened media exposure, and a multi-state undercover investigation of penning operations which led to the arrest of a dozen people and the issuance of more than forty citations for various violations.

After proposing rules to outlaw this abhorrent practice last year, the INRC reversed itself and is now proposing to legalize coyote/fox penning. Indications are that this switch in position was a result of pressure from pro-gun and pro-penning organizations.

Your voice matters; we need to remind the INRC of how it came to its humane decision last year to end this practice. INRC will be conducting two public hearings on their proposed rule changes and is accepting public comments until May 18.

How You Can Help

  1. Submit comments to the Indiana Natural Resources Commission in opposition to the proposed rules.
    To submit a comment online:

    • Go to: http://www.in.gov/nrc/2377.htm
    • Select the “Coyote/Fox – Dog Training Grounds” rule
    • Click on “Comment on this rule”
    • Enter the required information in the boxes provided
    • Politely express your concerns about this issue and that the inherent cruelty and abuse associated with coyote/fox penning cannot be remedied through rules (see sample letter and suggested talking points below)
  2. Contact Governor Mitch Daniels and urge him to prohibit the practice of coyote/fox penning statewide. Email the Governor through his website by clicking the third link under “Ask Mitch.”
  3. Indiana residents only: Attend a hearing and speak out in opposition to this cruel and violent practice.Tuesday, May 10

    (6 p.m.) at McCormick’s Creek State Park, Canyon Inn, Sycamore Room, 451 McCormick Creek Park Road, SpencerWednesday, May 11 (6 p.m.) at Webster Recreation Center, Plymouth Park & Recreation Department, 110 Webster Ave., Plymouth (Marshall County).

Sample Letter:

Subject: LSA #11-4- proposed rule to amend 312 IAC 9-10-7 regarding coyote/fox penning

Dear Commissioners,

I am appalled to learn that the State of Indiana is considering legalizing coyote and fox penning year-round, where coyotes and foxes are placed in fenced enclosures and packs of dogs chase them in competition. Evidence shows that many of these wild canines are mauled and killed by their domestic cousins.

In essence, Indiana is considering sanctioning an activity where animals can be torn apart as “live bait” in canned-hunting-like operations. This is reprehensible and contravenes any notion of fair chase.

Like the rest of the nation, Indiana has banned dogfighting and cockfighting. Coyote and fox penning is akin to both activities and for this reason alone should be banned.

The inherent cruelty associated with fox and coyote penning cannot be remedied through regulation. Creating new rules would require enforcement, and enforcing abhorrent activities of this type is not an appropriate use of state resources in the best of times, and certainly not during these hard economic times.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has acknowledged that there is ecological, ethical, disease, and health related issues, associated with penning; and Florida unanimously voted to prohibit this type of penning last year. Indiana should do the same.

I urge you to reject the proposal to legalize coyote and fox penning and instead adopt rules to ban this practice. I strongly oppose coyote and fox pens, and respectfully ask that you stop this horrific and cruel practice.

Your full name
Mailing address
State, Zip

Expanded Points for Your Letter:

Ethically Indefensible: 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. Legislators have had the wisdom to ban dog and cock-fighting – largely on ethical grounds – and “penning” parallels these abhorrent practices. Penned wild coyotes and foxes are often mutilated in a cruel and unconscionable way, as acknowledged by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Ecologically Reckless: Transporting and marketing wild coyotes and foxes for penning purposes is ecologically reckless. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources explicitly stated these concerns acknowledging that trade and transportation of wildlife is one of the primary contributors to disease transmission and historically has led to the spread of rabies and other diseases dangerous to wildlife, domestic animals and people.

Counter to Sound Scientific Wildlife Management: Coyote and fox penning is not an effective method of coyote and fox control as acknowledged by numerous and prominent scientists and wildlife biologists. There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that penning operations somehow help reduce coyote/fox populations on a state-wide level or mitigate negative encounters with coyotes or foxes. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has acknowledged that there are ecological, ethical, and disease and health related issues associated with penning. Moreover, the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies passed a resolution in 2008 urging the adoption of state-by-state regulations prohibiting the importation or interstate movement of foxes and coyotes for the purpose of stocking coursing pens or for release and pursuit by hounds outside of coursing pens.

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