Lawsuit Filed to Stop Wolf Hunting in Wisconsin

Animal advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Board (NRB) this week over a new provision that will allow hunters to use dogs this upcoming hunting season that begins on October 15.

The suit, which was filed at the Dane County Circuit Court by eight organizations, is seeking an injunction to stop the DNR from issuing permits, claiming that hunting wolves with dogs will result in a number of horrible scenarios ranging from animal cruelty to what would otherwise be legalized dog fighting in violation of the state’s anti-cruelty and animal fighting laws.

“A broad range of Wisconsin citizens oppose the rules established for this season,” said Jodi Habush Sinykin, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “From hunters to landowners, ecologists to volunteer trackers and community humane societies, there is strong agreement that the season was set up without the restrictions needed to prevent deadly animal fighting.”

“The goal of the lawsuit is to have the DNR take a closer look at the restrictions that need to be put into place,” said Liz Pirner, Fox Valley Humane Association resource and events coordinator. “They are a predatory animal, and they are a very complex animal. That needs to be a part of the conversation when we’re talking about bringing a companion animal into the situation.”

The groups also have experts on their side who filed statements against the use of dogs, including a former DNR wolf manager, Patricia McConnell, Ph.D, a nationally-acclaimed expert in canine training and behavior; and UW-Madison Professor Adrian Treves, Ph.D, expert in wolf habitat and behavior.

“Dog packs that will be used to chase a wolf or a pack of wolves will be regarded by the wolves as a threat,” said Dick Thiel, a retired DNR wolf manager who submitted testimony. “Attacks will be swift and furious. Dogs will be seriously injured and die, and wolves will be injured and die as they both fight by slashing out with their canines and carnassial teeth.”

Supporters of the rule don’t expect there to be any problems. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, for one, doesn’t believe there’s any basis to support the notion that dogs and wolves would fight, while hunters contend that their dogs are expensive and well trained and they don’t want to put them in harms way. However, there are no breed, training or leash restrictions in the provision.

Bill Cosh, a spokesman for the DNR said they are disappointed with the lawsuit and will be reviewing the documents.

A preliminary hearing for the case has been scheduled for Aug. 29. The plaintiffs include the Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, Dane County Humane Society, Wisconsin Humane Society, Fox Valley Humane Association, Northwood Alliance, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Jayne and Michael Belsky and Donna Onstott.

Meanwhile, it looks like hunters are anxious to get out there for a massacre. More than 8,400 people having applied for just 2,000 available permits being offered to kill a quota of 201 wolves.


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Photo credit: Thinkstock


Chris Carson
Past Member 3 years ago

Shameful!!! What is it with 'hunter's' that they have to persecute wild life? We all know America is obsessed with guns, violence and macho bullshit like hunting, but here in the UK we also have to share the blame...not to wolves, we don't have any since we obliterated them long ago as a threat to farming :( Here we think it's OK to kill our magnificent birds of prey... a dreadful name anyway, suggesting! Eagles, Hawks, Owls, Falcons and Kites are all fair game for death by poisoning, shooting and trapping,mainly so that a small number of wealthy idiots can spend tens of thousands of pounds tramping across our gorgeous moors banging away at anything that flies! Now I don't have a problem with a guy shooting something to feed his family, but for fun?... for 'sport'? It soickens me, and please don't get me started on fox hunting!!! :)

Phyl M.
Dai M4 years ago

what's with Wisconsin? What a brutal state....wolf killing & animal abuse allowed to be rampant...also the U of WI...with all the brutal cruelty of animal testing & abuse. When will it end? We boycott anything WI....& will not send our vacation money there.

Carol D.
Past Member 5 years ago

Hunters are big heads and big d--ks with a pea for a brain bloodthirsty animals who are cowards underneath just out for fun killing defenceless creatures A curse on them all

katarzyna phillips

there are plenty of other animals like rabbits you could go hunting for which would make sense. a cornered wolf could inflict major harm to your 'hunting dog' and then what would you do? without wolves, you wouldn't have gotten your 'hunting dog' in the first place. idiots!

Julia R.
Julia R5 years ago

What is wrong with the DNR to allow hunting with dogs and in giving 2,000 permits to kill 201 wolves! Do they consider this fair play! What chance to these poor wolves have? How cruel this is not only for the wolves but for the dogs that have been innocently inducted into this cruel killing fest! Instead of the DNR implementing science and good environmental stewardship, they are pandering to the lowest element of people who just want to shoot as many wolves as they can because they want to think that they are "big men" and look what they can do to top predators when in reality they are the lowest form of creatures on this earth and will never have the nobility of any wolf whose life they take because they're really cowards and sadists! Shame on the DNR and NRB for politically pandering to the lowest element on our planet!

Michael Guest
Michael Guest5 years ago

Wolves don't need to be shot. They play important roles in ecosystems. Keep them protected out of harm's way.

Fabienne B.

Please go on Facebook to see what the very proud group of Wisconsin Wolves Hunters dare to show as acts of toture there! That's why, me, from Belgium, I made my own humble little petition for the protection of the wolves out there! It is a massacre! My petition is called, "Help us stop the massacre of the wolves in the Wisconsin!" :

Barbara S.

DNR is the enemy of all wildfife here in the US. They kill any and everything they can without mercy of any kind. Also the ranchers and hunters who kill mother animals and babies without remorse. Our government empower's these agency's and gives them the so called right to MURDER innocent creatures. When and why don't animal protecter's go out in force and prevent these barbaric acts from happening. I am willing to stand before a hunter and demand that it stop and I am sure there are others like myself!!!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

wish we could just let nature be. poor wolves

Jean McCarthy
Jean McCarthy5 years ago

How preposterous is this? What a ridiculous idea for people of Wyoming to even think of using their 'beloved pets' to hunt for wolves where they are also susceptible to being in danger. Wolves mate for life as I understand; they grieve for their families; grieve for their pups and will protect them. This whole issue is bizarre! For God's sake and the sake of the beautiful animals, ban the wolf hunts and let the animals live as they have for centuries instead of trying to eradicate these wonderful, protective animals and their families. Someone show some humane heart and common sense!