It all came to a head on July 15, 2013. After weeks of aerial and ground surveillance, diligent investigation, and the approval of a search warrant, the fugitive was cornered and the courageous and heavily armed deputies of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were ready strike and apprehend the dangerous suspect and send a message to those harboring her. When the time came the 16 officers executed the SWAT style raid with perfection, apprehended the suspect, and summarily executed her for the safety of the entire state and humanity itself.
Here is what the violent suspect, that needed 16 heavily armed officers to apprehend, looked like prior to her execution.
This innocent little baby was killed by the Wisconsin DNR because some kindhearted people at the Society of St. Francis Animal Shelter took the fawn, affectionately known as Giggles, in prior to attempting to place her with a wildlife rehabber in Illinois. Giggles was brought to the shelter by some well meaning but misinformed people that believed she was orphaned. Because Wisconsin law forbids wild animals, such as deer from being kept, the DNR and local law enforcement apparently felt that a SWAT style raid was necessary to resolve the situation. This is what the talking heads at the Wisconsin DNR said after the raid and execution of Giggles:
“Last week our warden staff had the difficult and emotional job of removing a fawn that was illegally taken out of the wild and into captivity. None of our staff take joy in these situations. The department does the best it can to educate the public about keeping wild animals in the wild. In the end, we are charged by the citizens of Wisconsin to carry out state laws mandated by the legislature. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. We don’t have the ability to pick and choose which laws to enforce. Wardens did request voluntary compliance from the facility. When that didn’t happen, our staff took precautions to keep everyone safe as they executed the required search warrant. We are always very empathetic to those involved in these situations and understand how difficult they are to all who are involved.”
Thank the “heavens” that we have a diligent and courageous DNR and local law enforcement to keep us safe from the scourge of baby deer and workers at animal shelters. Of course there is one little thing that the DNR conveniently “forgot” to mention. They didn’t mention the fact that a certain segment of people in the state are allowed to keep wild animals. Those wild animals aren’t “kept in the wild” but it is perfectly legal for this segment of people to “posses” them and use them to “train” their dogs on. Of course I am talking about none other than our glorious hounders and how they can keep wild animals to torment. This is what the Wisconsin statutes state:
169.20(2)(b) (b) A hound dog training license authorizes the holder of the license to purchase, possess, release into the wild, and hunt any of the following wild animals for the purpose of teaching hound dogs to track game:
169.20(2)(b)1. 1. Live captive rabbit purchased or otherwise acquired from a person holding a captive wild animal farm license.
169.20(2)(b)2. 2. Live captive raccoon.
169.20(2)(b)3. 3. Live captive bear of the species Ursus americanus.
169.20(2)(b)4. 4. Live captive fox.
169.20(2)(b)5. 5. Live captive coyote.
169.20(2)(b)6. 6. Live captive bobcat
The statute states that these animals can be kept for the purpose of teaching hound dogs to TRACK “game.” Nowhere does it say that the hounder doing the “teaching” can allow the dog can attack or kill the “game.” Only TRACKING is allowed. So why then does the Wisconsin DNR refuse to enforce the law when it comes to blatant violations where photographic and video evidence is provided showing illegal activity?
This weekend I am sure many of you read with outrage my post about the hounder videotaping his dogs tormenting two live trapped cats. I also presented another video made by the same person where he was encouraging his dogs to attack a raccoon. In both instances the hounder escaped any and all repercussions for his illegal behavior because both the Portage County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin DNR refused to take any action.
As disturbing as these videos are there have been far more even more horrifying ones presented to the authorities followed by more refusals to take action. In 2013 a wolf killer trapped a wolf near Portage Wisconsin and allowed the wolf to languish in the trap for at least a week. Wisconsin trapping rules state that traps must be checked every 24 hours. What did the DNR do after numerous complaints were filed about this incident? They warned the wolf killer and the land owner not to do it again. No charges. No fine. Nothing but a “warning.”
Of course total inaction and apathy toward cruelty toward wildlife is not exclusive to Wisconsin agencies. Earlier this summer I was forwarded a video made by a Minnesota based hounder showing his dogs being allowed to viciously attack a coyote at what the hounder described as a Minnesota based “penning” facility. After contacting the Minnesota DNR we were told that such penning facilities are not legal in Minnesota and that the video may constitute a serious violation.
Full video here: https://youtu.be/TkjgYTb526k
This is the email interaction between a MN DNR warden and one of the reporting parties.
I have a couple of questions about Minnesota law before I report a possible violation. First, is the penning of coyotes and other wildlife legal in Minnesota for the purpose of “training” dogs? Second if it is legal are the dogs allowed to physically attack and kill the coyotes and other wildlife within these “pens?”
From the MN DNR:
The answer is no for both of your questions. There is an exception for your first questions – animals that are bought legally from a game farm can be penned and used for training dogs as long as it’s done in a humane way. Some people train their coon dogs by pulling a cage (with a raccoon in it) through the woods and fields to lay down a scent for the dog but the dogs are not actively chasing the raccoon. The big difference is where did the animals come from – the wild or a game farm. I don’t know any game farms in MN that exclusively sell coyotes – most sell game birds and a few other critters.
Major Greg Salo
MN DNR Enforcement
In the social media comments forwarded to us with the video the hounder bragged that this “training” was occurring at a penning facility “near Brainerd.” This information was provided to the MN DNR along with the video by the complainant. For once we thought that finally action may be taken against a hounder for illegal activity. But as usual we were mistaken. Despite the video and the comments from the hounder that recorded it the MN DNR some how came to the conclusion that this occurred in Wisconsin rather than Minnesota. This was the response from the MN DNR:
We looked into this case and believe this activity is occurring just across the border in Wisconsin where it is legal to use a pen to train dogs for coyotes. We are wrapping up a few more details and I’ll let you know if something else develops.
Of course nothing more “developed” and this blatant violation was also ignored with no repercussions for the perpetrator. The inaction from the Wisconsin DNR, Minnesota DNR, and local law enforcement agencies to blatant cruelty is highly disturbing and it makes me wonder what it actually takes for them to take any sort action. Apparently photos, videos, and the words directly from the violators are not enough for any action to occur concerning blatant cruelty and law violations. The investigating agencies always have some sort of excuse as to why charges are never filed or citations are never issued.
Apparently you have to be an animal shelter volunteer harboring a viscous baby deer for local law enforcement or the DNR to take a violation seriously. In that case they will send a 16 member SWAT style team to take you and the baby down. So is the sad state of affairs for wildlife advocates in Wisconsin and the rest of the country.