Update: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to ban fox and coyote pens! Read the update here.
“Most Floridians don’t realize that the state allows people to truck wild coyotes and foxes into Florida, unload them onto fenced acreage where they can’t escape, and then, in a cruel ‘sport,’ they let teams of dogs loose to terrorize the captive animals for hours and tear them apart,” according to a Humane Society press release.
Tomorrow morning the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will conduct a hearing in Apalachicola to decide whether or not to let it continue.
Fox and coyote pens were started in what those in charge now call a well-intended effort to train dogs that were previously causing problems to local property owners. However “well-intended” this was meant to be, it’s nothing more than barbaric form of state-sanctioned cruelty that no permit in the world can make right.
In addition to the violent nature of this sorry excuse for a sport, fox and coyote pens have led to other problems, such as a prominent black market for coyotes, which can’t be imported, in addition to introducing a new form of rabies that came in with animals from Texas.
In November, a 10-month FWC investigation lead to 12 arrests for illegal animal trade. It also uncovered pens operating without permits, according to the Herald Tribune.
“The animal smugglers could also set loose on Florida a tapeworm that can be picked up from foxes, coyotes, dogs and cats. In humans, it causes parasitic tumors in the liver, sometimes in the brain or lungs, with symptoms that don’t show up for five to 15 years. It has already turned up in foxes taken from South Carolina pens,” according to the FWC.
Regulations also require that escape routes be provided, but investigations have found that these routes and hiding places are intentionally blocked.