Saturday, August 11, 2012

Opponents file wolf-hunting lawsuit

August 10, 2012

Wisconsin News

Environmental and animal rights’ groups filed a lawsuit Aug. 8 to try and stop Wisconsin’s new wolf-hunting season from starting in October.

The Midwest Environmental Advocates said the state DNR and its regulating board set up the season without the restrictions needed to stop what it called “deadly animal fighting.” Attorney Jodi Habush Sinykin said there’s strong agreement among hunters, landowners, ecologists, trackers, and humane societies that the rules for the season are inadequate. She called it “state-sanctioned” animal fighting and a violation of Wisconsin’s animal-cruelty laws.

The DNR is allowing the use of hunting dogs for the wolf season – and opponents say that is the impetus behind the lawsuit filed in Dane County Circuit court with several humane and environmental groups as co-plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs say there is irrefutable evidence that wolves will get into confrontations with the hunting dogs, injuring and killing those dogs. Spokesman Bill Cosh said Aug. 9 the DNR is disappointed in the lawsuit and that the agency is in the process reviewing the complaint.

Meanwhile, the season is proving to be extremely popular with those seeking hunting licenses. Over 8,400 people have applied for just 2,000 permits – and applications are being taken until the end of August.

George Meyer of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, a former DNR secretary, said he was not surprised the suit was filed. He said it’s interesting that it focuses on the wolf hunt – and not the removal of the grey wolves from the federal endangered species list. That was the reasoning behind previous lawsuits regarding wolf hunts.