June 23 was a momentous day for coyotes and foxes in Florida, as the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted unanimously to enact a ban on coyote and fox "penning." 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. A groundswell of public outcry and media attention - including ten newspaper editorials taking a firm stand against penning and supporting an immediate ban - prompted the FWC to prohibit this practice.
"Florida’s commendable stand on this issue sends a clear message to the other states that sanctioning such brutal killing of wildlife is unacceptable, " 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. As a nation we have banned both dog fighting and cockfighting and it’s time we do the same for penning." AWI worked with Project Coyote to rally support for this ban and thanks all of its members who took action on this issue.