In a court hearing on Friday, August 31, a Dane County, Wisconsin judge issued a temporary injunction that blocks the use of dogs to hunt wolves in the state’s upcoming inaugural wolf season.

Judge Peter Anderson passed judgement in favor of the plaintiffs, made up of a coalition of local humane societies, who argued that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) did not put in place adequate protection for dogs within the regulations of the hunt. They said this puts dogs in danger of violent confrontation with wolves.

This temporary injunction prevents the DNR from issuing licenses with permission to hunt wolves with dogs. In addition, the ruling stipulates that dogs may not be trained to hunt wolves.

Anderson’s ruling does not specifically stop the hunt from taking place. Department of Natural Resources officials expressed concern on Thursday before the ruling that the department would not be able to rewrite regulations with this new stipulation in time for the hunt, effectively cancelling the wolf season. However, the DNR is now reviewing the judge’s decision to see what can be done to allow the hunt to take place with the new restrictions in place.

The wolf season is scheduled to begin October 15. The Wisconsin DNR will issue 1,116 permits to hunt wolf this season based on a lottery drawing. As of Friday afternoon, there were 18,301 applications for wolf permits.

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Image from MacNeil Lyons/National Park Service (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region) on the flickr Creative Commons