Public hearing sees vehement opposition to use of dogs in wolf hunt
At a tense hearing Tuesday on using dogs for hunting wolves — at which one anti-hunting advocate was ordered out of the meeting — critics of the state's controversial wolf hunt argued that violent and fatal fights between dogs and wolves will be impossible to stop if the agency goes ahead with plans to allow dogs in the next hunt.
The hearing took place before the Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the state Department of Natural Resources. Part of the board's regular monthly meeting, the hearing was held to satisfy an order from Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson, who heard a lawsuit challenging the use of dogs. On Jan. 16, Anderson lifted an injunction against using dogs for wolf hunting in the 2013 hunting season. He also ordered the DNR to decide whether to create more extensive rules — the subject of Tuesday's hearing.
The agency is already considering permanent rules that would limit packs of hunting dogs to six animals, prohibit using dogs at night and limit the training of wolf-hunting dogs to the open wolf hunting season and the month of March. After testimony Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to continue with the permanent rule-making process and not to consider additional rules at this time. More public hearings on the issue will be held in coming months.
But several speakers Tuesday afternoon spoke vehemently against the practice of using dogs, regardless of rules.
"This isn't Rome," said Ron Fitzpatrick, a lawyer and dog owner from La Crosse. "This is barbaric."