Animal Advocates Rail Against Live Bait Dog Training

Hunters Say Coyote, Fox Pens Help Train Dogs

Animal rights advocates are calling on the state to ban hunting training they claim is little more than legalized dog fighting.

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission is considering adopting rules to allow and monitor dog running enclosures in which captured coyotes and foxes are chased by dogs being trained to hunt, 6News' Myrt Price reported.

Jack Hyden, president of the Indiana Beagler's Alliance, said the running pens provide a safe environment where hunters can train their dogs.

"Today there is a lot of other game, like deer, that a young dog can get on that scent and can get out and get itself in trouble in a hurry," he said. "It can get killed on the road. It can get off on somebody else's property and get shot."

But the experience for the trapped wild animals is more horrific than hunters report, some animal rights advocates claim.

Christin Tank, vice president of Training Not Torture, provided 6News with video that showed dogs attacking coyotes.

"What we've seen is that the coyotes are trapped in the corners and multiple dogs are actually ripping them apart," she said.

Tank said she used to live next door to a running pen in Florida. She said she witnessed coyotes and foxes being slaughtered.

"I ran outside because I thought my dogs were in a fight. I ran outside and saw a coyote on his back with about seven dogs on him, pulling him apart," she said.

Hyden said claims that wild animals are being slaughtered during the training sessions are simply a tactic by some groups to play on people's emotions.

"We know they're humane and we also know some of the stuff that's been showing on this, there is no one in Indiana that will do that," he said.

At the one running pen in the state, Hyden said the goal is for dogs to chase the coyotes, not to kill them.

"If a dog would catch a coyote, then it's banned for life. It's not intended (the coyote) to be caught," he said.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources supports the running pen training practice, but with rules and regulations that hunters must follow. The commission gave preliminary approval to the measure with those guidelines.

The commission will hold a public hearing for allow hunters and others to weigh in on the issue.