Three cheers for the coalition of humane societies, including our own Dane County Humane Society, for filing a lawsuit this week against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ plan for a wolf hunt this fall and winter.
The DNR’s rules allow wolf hunters to use dogs in pursuit of their prey, the only wolf hunt in the nation to do so.
The societies contend that the rules set up a situation that can be inhumane to both the dogs and the wolves, especially if a pack of wolves confronts a group of dogs. Their lawsuit charges that the agency failed to comply with a state rule that requires the DNR to set up restrictions on training and hunting with dogs.
The wolf hunt, the first here since the animals were removed from the endangered species list, is slated to begin on Oct. 15. More than 7,000 applications to shoot a quota of 201 wolves have already been received by the department, which will then draw some 2,000 names to receive permits.
Retired DNR manager Dick Thiel said it all in a statement filed with the suit.
“Attacks will be swift and furious,” he said. “Dogs will be seriously injured and die, and wolves will be injured and die as they both fight by slashing out.”
The DNR, goaded on by state Rep. Scott Suder, an Abbotsford Republican, OK’d the wolf hunt with dogs despite widespread opposition from Wisconsin citizens this summer. Pro-hunting groups, which have become as powerful as the NRA in getting their way on hunting issues, prevailed. The use of dogs has long been championed by the Wisconsin Bear Hunting Association, whose members have long used dogs in their pursuit of bears. They weighed in on the wolf hunt as well, insisting that the use of dogs to track the animals should be approved.
Unless the humane societies prevail in getting an injunction, the wolf hunt will start Oct. 15 and last until the end of February or until the 201 quota is reached.
For the sake of all the animals, let’s hope they prevail.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. firstname.lastname@example.org