Dear Editor: Wisconsin has a dirty little secret that few seem to know. Did you know that animal fighting is perfectly legal in Wisconsin and that our Legislature is even working to make sure that the dogs injured in those fights receive no protections under the law? There is something very wrong with a state that allows packs of hounds to chase, attack and fight wild animals under the guise of “hunting” or “training.” Sadly, that is precisely what Wisconsin allows, and even has the DNR promote as “conservation” and part of the state’s “heritage.”
Under Wisconsin law and DNR rules, hounders are allowed to use their dogs to fight wild animals, and the only rule is that the dogs cannot kill the animals that they engage. There is no prohibition for using those dogs to inflict horrific injuries on bears, wolves, coyotes, bobcats and even turkeys under the guise of “training” or “hunting.”
Even better? There is no permit required to engage in this vile “training” activity, and the hounders are not even required to have proof of rabies vaccinations for their dogs. Want more? If a wolf happens to kill one of their rampaging dogs the state pays the hounder $2,500, even though they set the dogs loose for the purpose of going after wild animals. Sounds like quite the nice racket they have going.
But wait, there’s more.
Under Senate Bill 366, the Wisconsin Legislature wants to exempt hounders from any criminal liability for their dogs being injured while actively fighting wild animals. In other words, our state is a haven for animal fighters and our public lands are giant animal fighting rings. This begs the question, what rules and liabilities actually exist for these animal fighters? Do the citizens of our state actually think this is OK?