Action Alert Update
On Wednesday (Feb. 17) the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) held a public hearing on “penning”, the practice of releasing a pack of hunting dogs on a captive coyote or fox.
Becky Pomponio, Project Coyote’s Florida representative, testified for a complete ban on the practice, citing our formal letter endorsed and co-signed by more than 60 prominent scientists, wildlife biologists, veterinarians, ethicists, and attorneys urging the agencies to prohibit this unconscionable practice.
Here’s what happened (from the FWC’s news release on the hearing): “The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted Wednesday to temporarily prohibit the chasing of foxes and coyotes in enclosures, while moving forward to draft rules guiding such enclosures in Florida. An executive order prohibiting chasing of foxes and coyotes within an enclosure will be issued by Feb. 24.
Before making the decision, Commissioners listened to more than 40 speakers on fox and coyote pens, beginning with Rep. Debbie Boyd, D-High Springs. Boyd urged the Commission to recognize the shortcomings on both sides of the issue, to address those shortcomings and engage stakeholders in the process…..
After listening to emotional appeals from the public, whose comments ranged from calling the practice of hunting foxes and coyotes within enclosures a ‘heritage’ and ‘a way of life’ to making charges of ‘cruelty’ and ‘mauling’ of the animals, Commissioners discussed how to proceed based on staff recommendations and public comment.
‘Rep. Boyd said it best,’ said Commissioner Kathy Barco. ‘We need to allow for the process so everybody works together.’
FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto said he leaned toward an outright ban of the practice but also felt the process should be given a chance for review.”
(To read more, visit the FWC’s website at: www.myfwc.com/NEWSROOM/10/statewide/News_10_X_FoxPen1.htm)
And newspaper articles on the hearing and editorials in favor of a ban:
FWC shuts down Florida fox pens
FWC Decides to Draft Rules Guiding Fox And Coyote Enclosures
Ban fox pens in Florida once and for all
Banning fox pens only humane way to go
Project Coyote will be strategizing with our allies about how we can best influence this next step while continuing to press for a complete ban on penning statewide. This is a “way of life” and a “heritage” that has no place in this century. If you have not already written this issue, PLEASE DO SO TODAY! See our action alert for more information on who to write to.
This same issue will be considered by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission (INRC) on March 16th at a public hearing. If you have not written, please write to the INRC TODAY and urge them to ban penning statewide and the trade in coyotes and foxes for such purposes. Your voice will make a difference!
For America’s native wild “song dog,”
Camilla H. Fox
Project Coyote is a non-profit fiscally sponsored project of Earth Island Institute that promotes educated coexistence between people and coyotes and advocates on behalf of coyotes and other native carnivores. We depend on our members and supporters to help us continue our work on behalf of America’s native “song dog.” Please join us today! All donations are tax-deductible. Visit us at www.ProjectCoyote.org.
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