Dogs should be banned from the Wisconsin wolf hunt, according to a court filing announced today by a coalition of humane society organizations, hunters and animal experts:
"Wisconsin remains the only state in the United States that allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves. The controversial practice, opposed by wolf experts and animal welfare advocates alike, has been met with mounting opposition since the enactment last April of Act 169, the state law authorizing dogs in wolf hunting."The legal action follows votes of citizens earlier this week at 72 meetings statewide where a majority said "no" to allowing dogs in the already-controversial WI wolf hunt.
Legislators ordered the wolf hunt for the 2012-13 season after an absence of decades; a circuit court judge kept dogs from that initial season's hunt, but has since lifted his ban - - thus paving the way for dogs to chase, confront and fight wolves later this year.
Here is the full text of the release:
For Immediate Release: April 12, 2013
Contact: Jodi Habush Sinykin, HS Law (414) 507- 0004; Carl Sinderbrand, Axley Brynelson (608) 260-2472
Appeal Filed in Wolf Hunt Lawsuit. Without judicial intervention, serious risk of animal cruelty in Fall hunt
MADISON—Plaintiffs filed an Appeal Friday morning with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals from the final judgment entered by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Peter C. Anderson on January 16, 2013, regarding Wisconsin DNR regulations governing the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
“We are appealing because we believe that Judge Anderson failed to address plaintiffs’ request for a declaratory judgment holding DNR’s wolf hunting regulations--allowing dogs to hunt wolves without necessary safeguards--in violation of Wisconsin law prohibiting cruelty to animals, both domestic and wild,” explains Robert L. Habush, of Habush, Habush & Rottier, one of the attorneys representing a mainstream coalition of Wisconsin humane societies, conservation groups, hunters, and volunteer wolf trackers, “Judge Anderson also didn’t address our request for a permanent injunction against the use of dogs to hunt wolves.”
“Our plaintiff organizations, mainstream hunters, and team of wolf and dog experts are in perfect agreement—without this Appeal, there will be nothing to stop the bloodshed and state-sanctioned “dog fighting” certain to ensue this Fall when dogs are set on wolves without the common sense restrictions needed to prevent deadly confrontations between the two canine species,” states Jodi Habush Sinykin, another attorney representing plaintiffs in this matter.
Pam McCloud Smith, executive director of Dane County Humane Society and Board President of Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, whose members include more than forty humane societies across Wisconsin agrees; “We need a judicial backstop here; the DNR’s inaction in the face of known risks and harm to animals is not in accord with longstanding Wisconsin animal cruelty protections or our values regarding humane treatment of animals.”
“Our appeal is necessary because only judicial intervention can protect the public interest from a state agency acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner;” explains Robert Habush, “Regarding dogs being used to hunt wolves, Wisconsin DNR’s rule-making process has been unduly influenced by lobbying—which has led to agency rules that ignore wolf biology, documented dog mortality, and mainstream Wisconsin ethics.”
Carl Sinderbrand of Axley Brynelson, LLP, added: “Our appeal raises important issues regarding the function of Wisconsin’s state government and management of our natural resources. The wolf hunting rules unfortunately reflect the elevation of political influence over science-based, responsible management of public resources.”
Wisconsin remains the only state in the United States that allows the use of dogs to hunt wolves. The controversial practice, opposed by wolf experts and animal welfare advocates alike, has been met with mounting opposition since the enactment last April of Act 169, the state law authorizing dogs in wolf hunting.