National Wolfwatcher Coalition: Wisconsin Press Release
August 8, 2012
National Wolfwatcher Coalition Press Release
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN: LAWSUIT FILED OVER WISCONSIN WOLF HUNTING RULES
On January 27, 2012, after a forty-year restoration effort and millions of federal and state dollars and citizen resources, the gray wolf was removed from federal Endangered Species protection and returned to state management in the Western Great Lakes region. Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin legislators passed Wisconsin Act 169 to establish a Wisconsin Wolf Harvest encompassing a 4/12 month long hunting and trapping season and authorizing an extensive array of hunting methods including use of dogs, 24/7 night-and-day hunting, leg-hold traps, artificial calls, and hunting over bait.
Today, August 7, 2012, the National Wolfwatcher Coalition filed a lawsuit, along with seven other plaintiffs, against the Wisconsin DNR and the Natural Resources Board seeking an injunction re: the Wisconsin DNR’s new rules establishing a Wolf Hunting Season in Wisconsin-specifically, the rules’ authorization of the use of dogs as a method to hunt wolves in the state.
In short, we challenge the validity of the wolf harvesting rules on the basis that DNR does not have the legal authority to declare rules that either authorize or facilitate the violation of existing Wisconsin law. By failing to include reasonable restrictions on the training and use of dogs to hunt wolves, the DNR effectively authorizes, allows and facilitates cruelty to animals in violation of Wis. Stat. 951, the state law criminalizing animal cruelty and animal fighting.
Expert affidavits have been submitted in support of our motion for a temporary injunction. These experts assert that the DNR’s failure to impose even the most basic restrictions, like leashing and dog training, is certain to lead to violent confrontations, bloodshed and unjustifiable cruelty in violation of both animal cruelty and hunting laws. The need for an injunction is compelling in order to prevent irreparable harm resulting from deadly animal fighting and unlawful hunting practices.
We are proud to report that Wolfwatcher’s Great Lakes Regional Director, Nancy Warren, will be providing expert testimony throughout the court case.
On these bases, we requested that the Court stay or enjoin DNR’s issuance of licenses authorizing the use of dogs to hunt wolves without reasonable restrictions that ensure that such use of dogs is limited to tracking and trailing.
Fellow plaintiffs in this lawsuit include Wisconsin state humane societies, hunters, land-owners, volunteer wolf trackers, state conservation organizations, outdoorsmen and women, a livestock farmer and veterinarian, many of whom reside in the areas of Wisconsin’s designated “wolf harvest zones.” They include: Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, Dane County Humane Society, Wisconsin Humane Society, Fox Valley Humane Association, Northwood Alliance, Jayne and Michael Belsky and Donna Onstott.
We encourage you to follow our progress via Wolfwatcher’s website, Facebook page as well as future updates via e-newsletter. You can also email us with questions and concerns. At this time, we ask that you share this news with friends and family since we need to bring national attention to Wisconsin for allowing and even facilitating cruelty to animals and animal fighting.
Hereafter, we will be reaching out to you to request your help in other ways. Of course, we have great faith that our supporters will rise to the occasion, as always. Thank you!
Board of Directors
National Wolfwatcher Coalition
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