Groups Sue State To Stop Live Bait Dog Training

Animal Rights Groups Want Practice Outlawed

Three animal rights groups have filed suit against the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to try to stop so-called fenced hunts across the state.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Project Coyote and the Animal Welfare Institute are suing the state to stop the practice of penning, in which foxes and coyotes are used as bait for dog training in fenced-in enclosures.

Supporters of the practice said the purpose of penning is to train dogs to chase coyotes and foxes and to keep dogs in shape during the off-season.

But Jeff Altman with the Animal Defense League called fenced training inhumane and barbaric.

"The pen operators will tell you the coyotes and foxes have the ability to get out and get away from the dogs, but in practice, they don't," he said. "Oftentimes, they are ripped to shreds by the dogs."

The animal rights groups are asking a judge to shut down the state's only existing pen in Greene County.

The DNR has hosted hearings around the state to get public comment on the penning controversy. No one from the DNR would speak on the issue Friday.

Lawrence Reuben, the attorney for the anti-penning groups, said it's crucial no more pen facilities be allowed to open in Indiana.

"It is very important that we stop this," he said. "It is critically important to the animals themselves, but also to the administration of state law."

No court date has been set in the case. Written comments on penning can be submitted on the DNR's website until May 18.