The following is a letter from Anne Sterling, Indiana State Director regarding coyote/fox pen operations in Indiana…
I’m writing to you about an issue that we have been working on for quite some time in Indiana, the coyote/fox penning issue. As you may know, several years ago, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), rule-making body for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)), voted unanimously & overwhelmingly to stop, for a portion of the year (all they could legally do) the sale of Indiana’s coyotes & foxes, who were being sold to ‘coyote/fox’ pens in other states.
If you’re not familiar with what typically happens in coyote/fox pens, click HERE to go to our website, where you’ll also find a video. Suffice to say, things do not generally end well for the disoriented, wild-caught coyotes and foxes. They are torn apart by packs of dogs.
It came as a bit of a surprise to us to learn that we actually do have at least one coyote/fox pen operating in Indiana. In response to this information, a petition was to the NRC over a year ago, asking them to adopt regulations prohibiting coyote/fox pens from operating in Indiana. They were on track to do just this when, in a rather disturbing move, they drastically changed course & are now considering rules to allow coyote/fox pens to operate in Indiana.
Some of the more troubling aspects of the proposed regulations include:
· A provision to require coyotes/foxes placed in the pens to be spayed/neutered
· A provision to allow a maximum of 175 dogs to be released in the pen at a time with the captive coyotes/foxes
· Allowing coyotes & foxes as young as 7 months to be released in the pens
· Allowing the coyotes/foxes to be chased/pursued (by up to 175 dogs) for 16 continuous hours
We’re down to the wire on this and I’m asking you to please contact your state legislators and ask them to voice their concern to the DNR and Natural Resources Commission. When you contact their office, you can say something along the lines of:
“Hello, my name is _________________________ and I am a constituent of Representative/Senator _____________________. I live in ______________________ , Indiana. I am calling b/c the Natural Resources Commission, the rule-making agency for the DNR, is planning on preliminarily adopting, at their November 16th meeting, rules to allow coyote/fox pens to operate permanently in Indiana. If the Commission votes to preliminarily adopt these rules, we are essentially codifying a form of dog fighting in Indiana. In pens, dogs are judged on how they chase fenced foxes and coyotes. This is practiced in just a limited number of states. In fact, Florida just recently banned pens. As a voter & constituent, I am deeply concerned about this and am requesting that you please contact the DNR and Natural Resources Commission as my representative. This is inappropriate government action, privatization of the wildlife that, by Indiana code, is the property of all Indiana residents and frankly, an inhumane waste of resources. I have already submitted my comments to the NRC.”
If you are more comfortable with general talking points, here are some suggested ones:
· The Natural Resources Commission is poised to preliminarily adopt, at their November 16th meeting, rules regarding coyote/fox pens that would essentially codify a form of dogfighting in Indiana
· The proposed rules would allow up to 175 dogs to be released in the coyote/fox pen, with the captive wildlife
· Other states who have had coyote/fox pens for years, have generally found them all but impossible to regulate and/or govern. Indiana’s suggested regulations are no different than what has proven to be unsuccessful in other states.
· The wildlife of Indiana, per Indiana code, belongs to the people of Indiana. Legalizing this practice of coyote/fox penning runs the risk of privatizing our wildlife.
· Above all, this practice is cruel and inhumane, regulations cannot be enforced, there is no guaranteed way to keep a pack of dogs from brutally killing a coyote or fox.
If you’re uncertain as to who represents you, please follow this link: http://district.iga.in.gov/DistrictLookup.
Remember, you want your State Representative & State Senator (not your Congressional legislator). A phone number should be listed for each of them, along with the name of their legislative liaison, the person with whom you will most likely be speaking.
If it’s not too much trouble, I’d love to hear how your conversations went after you make your call! To be most effective, please make your calls within the next few days, as the NRC is meeting next Tuesday.
If you would like to attend the meeting next week, to bolster our numbers and show support for the coyotes/foxes, please let me know!
Thanks very much!
Indiana State Director