Court Rules Against Indiana Penning Operation

Possession of coyotes by WCI Foxhound Training Preserve, a penning facility in Linton, Indiana, is unlawful. Photo by Matt KnothAWI, Project Coyote, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund obtained a default ruling in December declaring that the possession of coyotes by WCI Foxhound Training Preserve, a penning facility in Linton, Indiana, is unlawful. “Penning” involves setting packs of hunting dogs loose to chase wild coyotes and foxes within enclosed areas, supposedly as a training exercise. Often, the dogs are allowed to corner and tear the wild canids apart. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had cavalierly waived the required permit for possession of wild animals, arguing (rather disingenuously) that WCI didn’t really “possess” the animals because they could possibly escape through holes in the ill-kept fence. (See Summer 2011 AWI Quarterly.) Even after the verdict, however, the state has not indicated it will actually enforce the permitting laws. If the state refuses to do so, AWI and the other plaintiff organizations will seek a court order compelling enforcement.