To the Editor:
Indiana Natural Resources Commission has responded to citizen petitions to prohibit the taking, harassment/killing of coyotes/foxes for dog training/penning purposes, and the use of these animals as live bait in the wild, by directing a comprehensive review by Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
"Penning," involves trapping, trading/selling of live coyotes/foxes to "training facilities," where they are released into enclosed areas where hunting dogs, obeying their "sporting" spectator masters, pursue them to kill. Videos show shock collars to escalate dogs' aggression and attack. Fearful, "entertaining," and profitable, scrimmage appall concerned citizens.
Many rural Hoosiers consider coyotes a nuisance. Cursed and feared for natural adaptability and wily survival skills, they are moving closer, not to frighten us, or in lust for our livestock and feral cats, but because man has desecrated their territory. Barren, chemically depleted, industrially farmed fields leave no land to roam, let alone nurture prey. For yield per acre, hedgerows, as well as reverence for the earth and her creatures, have been forgotten. Song Dog has nowhere to go.
Wolves, coyotes and dogs share a common heritage of conflict solving communication. Cooperation is essential for pack survival. Uninterrupted by man, wild canines live peacefully, in tune with natural law. (On Talking Terms with Dogs/Turid Rugaas/www.dogwise.com).
Forced "training" to kill is an unconscionable abuse of canine loyalty and inherent social wisdom. "Hunting" man's way, dogs forget the most basic submissive communications essential in canine hierarchy, such as exposing the jugular for instant death. Their bewildered cousins are often torn apart, dying an anguished unnatural death.
HB 1258 recently passed the House. If Hoosier's Senate approves, attending a dog fight becomes a felony. What is the difference, in truth, between these two "sports?"
The DNR acknowledges associated ecological/ethical/health issues. Fair chase and sound wildlife management are violated. Scientists, veterinarians, attorneys and advocacy organizations strongly support a ban, naming penning/live bait practices as "ethically indefensible and "ecologically reckless." (www.ProjectCoyote.org).
DNR will report their findings/recommendations on March 16. Attendance is urged. For information, contact Project Coyote.
And, please, if living with coyotes is a problem, contact Indiana Coyote Rescue (www.coyoterescue.org) for compassionate advice.
If we make peace with coyotes, perhaps there is hope that we can, one day, live in peace with each other.