Victory Declared for Wildlife in Florida

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission votes UNANIMOUSLY for immediate ban on Coyote and Fox Penning

Lake Mary, FL -- Project Coyote and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) declared a victory for wildlife, after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted unanimously today to ban coyote and fox pens statewide. Penning involves sending packs of domestic dogs into a fenced-off enclosure to chase to exhaustion and often tear apart a captive coyote or fox.

Testifying before the FWC today on behalf of Project Coyote and AWI, Becky Pomponio, stated, "Cruelty can occur when no one is looking. But for Florida, the blinders are off. No one can say we don’t know what is going on in these pens. Please, don’t try to regulate this cruelty. Put an end to it now."

The FWC had three options before them: regulate the practice, phase it out over two years, or ban it immediately. A groundswell of public outcry against the practice and media attention- including ten newspaper editorials taking a firm stand against penning and in support of an immediate ban - put the spotlight on Florida and the FWC to take swift action and ban this practice.

A FWC investigation last year of penning operations led to the arrest of 12 people and the issuance of 46 citations for various violations related to the illicit trade in live foxes and coyotes for penning purposes.  

"We commend the FWC for this decision," said Camilla Fox, Executive Director of Project Coyote and Wildlife Consultant for the Animal Welfare Institute. "The Commission was under a lot of pressure from a small, vocal minority of pen operators to sanction this activity. But they made the right decision today by banning a practice that should be relegated to the recesses of America’s dark past. Florida’s commendable stand on this issue sends a clear message to the other states that sanctioning such brutal killing of wildlife is unacceptable. As a nation we have banned both dog fighting and cockfighting and it’s time we do the same for penning."

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Project Coyote is a national non-profit charitable organization that fosters educated coexistence between people and coyotes and advocates on behalf of all native carnivores. For information, visit: http://www.projectcoyote.org/.

The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. More information: http://www.awionline.org/