April 21, 2014

Judge rules dogs allowed in wolf hunt

(Photo: WDNR)

(Photo: WDNR)

A Dane County judge says hunters can use dogs to track wolves in Wisconsin, but the animals cannot be trained to hunt here until certain steps have been taken.

Judge Peter Anderson on Friday rejected arguments from the DNR that the law authorizing the wolf hunt did not allow the agency to create restrictions on training hounds. Anderson said the agency does have the power to create rules to protect the safety of the hounds.

The decision did lift an injunction that had stopped the use of dogs in the state’s recently completed inaugural wolf hunt. However, it also prevents the animals from being trained to hunt wolves until rules from the Department of Natural Resources have been approved.

DNR attorney Tim Andryk said the agency is currently working on drafting permanent rules that cover the season. Although, he noted the process is expected to take some time and is unlikely to be complete before the 2013 wolf hunt starts next October.

The ruling comes out of a lawsuit filed by several animal rights groups, who argued the lack of any training requirements for hounds used to track wolves could put the safety of the dogs at risk. While the decision may not stop the eventual use of dogs during the wolf hunt, Jodi Habush Sinykin says it forces the DNR to have clear rules in place to keep them from being injured.

The state’s first wolf hunt ended on December 23rd, after hunters reached the cap on 116 animals for the season.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:14)