A lawsuit was filed on Wednesday that seeks to halt the upcoming Wisconsin wolf hunt, alleging that the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) did not adequately exercise its authority to prevent the use of dogs in the newly-reinstated season.
“We’re not suprised a lawsuit was filed,” said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and former Wisconsin DNR secretary, to the Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee. “It’s interesting that it doesn’t challenge the delisting but focuses on a form of hunting.”
The lawsuit was filed against the state’s Natural Resources Board in addition to the DNR.
“A broad range of Wisconsin citizens oppose the rules established for this season,” said Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney for HS Law in Milwaukee. “From hunters to landowners, ecologists to volunteer trackers and community humane societies, there is strong agreement that the season was set up without the restrictions needed to prevent deadly animal fighting.”
Wisconsin is the only state to allow the use of dogs to hunt wolves.
Plaintiffs have alleged that permitting the use of dogs endangers the animal in confrontation with wolves, and that there should be restrictions in place to prevent “unsafe proximity between dogs and wolves,” as quoted in the LaCrosse Tribune.
Dick Thiel, a retired DNR wolf manager who testified on behalf on the plantiffs said,
Dog packs that that will be used to chase a wolf or a pack of wolves will be regarded by the wolves as a threat. Attacks will be swift and furious. Dogs will be seriously injured and die, and wolves will be injured and die as they both fight by slashing out with their canines and carnassial teeth.
DNR and Natural Resources Board spokespersons said the departments have not have a chance to review the lawsuit and will not issue a comment at this time. Local hunters’ groups like Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association and the Wisconsin Hunters’ Coalition
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stall the wolf hunt until the case has been resolved. A preliminary hearing will take place on August 29 in Madison. The hunt is currently scheduled to begin October 15. In the meantime, applications for a Wisconsin wolf tag have already passed the 7,000 mark in the first week of their availability.