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Dear Humanitarian:

Public outcry helped gain a temporary ban on coyote and fox penning in Florida in February. Your voice was heard!

The Animal Welfare Institute, Project Coyote and other national and local organizations are working aggressively towards a permanent ban on penning.

Florida’s pens, in which packs of domestic dogs are released on a captive coyote or fox, have been shut down temporarily since February, while FWC staff draft a formal “rule” to regulate the practice. This temporary ban came on the heals of an undercover FWC investigation of penning operations that led to the arrest of 12 people and the issuance of 46 citations for various violations related to penning practices.

Now the FWC is looking to “regulate” the practice through adoption of rules- yet repeat past permit violators demonstrate that this practice cannot be regulated. FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto has publicly stated that he favors shutting down the pens permanently. We agree- and believe this heinous practice should be abolished, not simply regulated.

You can also submit comments directly online (mention your association with Florida-- i.e. you are a resident; you visit Florida often, etc):

Or send a letter directly to the Commissioners at:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

POINTS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR LETTER (remember to include your first and last name and your full address):

You strongly support a ban on the taking, killing and harassment of coyotes and red foxes for “penning” purposes. Such practices are inhumane, ecologically reckless and counter to sound scientific management;There is nothing “sporting” about setting a pack of dogs into an enclosed pen against a helpless coyote or fox. Most penned coyotes and foxes become “live bait” and are literally torn apart and killed by the dog packs;This practice parallels dog and cock-fighting – activities made illegal in all U.S. states in the last twenty years;The Commission won’t be able to enforce the proposed regulations of this unethical business;Transporting wild animals for penning purposes has directly led to the spread of rabies and other diseases; andCoyote/fox penning reflects badly on Florida where tourism is so important to the economy.

For more information see:

FWC website:

FWC shuts down Florida fox pens

FWC to hold meetings on fox, coyote pens

Thank you for taking action on behalf of coyotes and foxes in Florida! Please share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers. As always, we are grateful for your help.

Please stop State Sponsored blood sports involving dogs for it violates FS 828.12. Cruelty to animals, and FS 828.122, the "Animal Fighting Act."  This is hitting nationwide attention and is a terrible embarrassment.

Prelude: The coyote is a member of the dog family. In size and shape the coyote is like a medium-sized Collie dog, but its tail is round and bushy and is carried straight out below the level of its back. Coyotes are perfectly capable of mating with ordinary dogs and produce puppies (because dog is breeding with another dog).

FACT!! Hunting dogs are companion dogs and they must FIGHT TO THE DEATH for this blood sport entertainment that I am writing about below,  sanctioned by the State of Florida.  Sometimes these hunting dogs get hurt OR KILLED due to these fighting enterprises. ~~~These hunting dogs become a threat to the community being taught to be vicious due to blood sports, and may next attack a child since they are at large in communities. Children are small like coyotes and foxes.~~ HUNTING DOGS ARE BEING TRAINED TO BE VICIOUS AND DANGEROUS TO CHILDREN.  Questions arise HOW were these hunting dogs trained to kill? Did they adopt free to good home cats or trap  feral cats so abundant in Florida and use them as bait training???  Typical dog fighters do that. So this is possible-God only knows what goes behind closed doors with these deranged individuals who find blood sports entertainment! It's sick and perverted; nobody every checks up on feral or free to good home cats.


828.12. Cruelty to animals

(1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to ANY ANIMAL which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission  has made cruel dog fighting sports legal with these penned coyote kills-throwing hunting domesticated dogs with penned foxes and coyotes (also these are dogs), seeing which ones will get ripped apart alive first, for entertainment sport; this is  typical of any dog fighting arena which is  illegal. Sometimes these hunting dogs get hurt or killed. Why is this dog fighting sanctioned by the State that clearly violates Florida Statutes? - at the very least it IS animal cruelty for both the hunting dogs-that DO get injured-and the coyote who is ripped to pieces alive. These hunting dogs DO get injured, and is bitten by a wild animal which may have diseases posing threats to humans and children. It's a vile practice.

Please read!

"These pens are, in essence, dogfighting arenas sanctioned by the state. Operators build a sturdy fence around a tract of land, stock it with foxes, coyotes or both, and turn loose a pack of hunting dogs to chase them down. Prizes go to the most effective dogs.

The pen's size — a minimum of 100 acres — is nowhere near the natural range of a fox or coyote. And the outcome is hardly in doubt. Often the dogs end up tearing the animals to pieces.

The well-intended effort has been a disaster. An FWC staff report cites a flourishing black market bringing hundreds of coyotes into Florida. An undercover investigation found that killing the quarry was not only accepted but encouraged, and many operators were eager to buy illegal animals. Operators weren't keeping records of where animals came from or their vaccinations. And some had no permit at all.

The FWC also points out that these pens pose a risk to public health and livestock. Coyotes from Texas have brought in a new form of rabies. The animal smugglers could also set loose on Florida a tapeworm that can be picked up from foxes, coyotes, dogs and cats. In humans, it causes parasitic tumors in the liver, sometimes in the brain or lungs, with symptoms that don't show up for five to 15 years. It has already turned up in foxes taken from South Carolina pens.

--End of quote--



In November 2009, the FWC arrested 12 people connected with multiple fox pens for illegally possessing foxes and coyotes. This investigation followed years of pens chronically violating permit requirements.It is rare for pens to submit the required records of animal acquisitions, and inspections often turn up animals with no documentation.

Stocked animals are a dangerous game, too. Pens constantly need to bring in fresh foxes and coyotes to replace dead ones.And there's not a much better way to spread rabies than to ship foxes and coyotes in the back of trucks, then put the terrified animals in unnaturally dense numbers in a fenced area. The state learned this the hard way when in 1995 a Texas strain of rabies occurred in a pen.


Please stop these STATE SANCTIONED ILLEGAL dog fighting enterprises. Because hunting dogs-ARE dogs-and they are being used to rip up coyotes--for entertainment purposes; sometimes these hunting dogs get hurt and sometimes killed due to this blood sport.



Sometimes this horrific practice is billed as training for hunting dogs. In Florida, it is a bloodsport where hunting dogs, hyped up on steroids and vitamin B-12, are turned loose in an enclosure to "hunt" the fox or coyote. Their feet may be soaked in formaldehyde and other chemicals so they don't feel pain and can "hunt" longer.   Hunters pay a fee to turn their dogs loose in these enclosures to corner and kill these animals. There can be dozens or hundreds of dogs involved. Dogs that don't perform well might be killed. Remember how Michael Vick hanged, beat, strangled, drowned and tortured his dogs used in dog fights? Same thing here.

The coyotes and fox are trapped, purchased from dealers, sometimes smuggled or transported from other states, and taken to the enclosure usually without food and water and sometimes injured from the traps and the journey. Some arrive dead, but they are easily replaced inventory, so no worries. The live foxes or coyotes are basically left without food and water till they are ripped apart by the dogs.  

These "hunts" are competitions. Participants and spectators place bets, prizes may be awarded, and it is not uncommon for children to be present.


Keep in mind HUNTING DOGS are being used-which are domesticated dogs and not what is termed game or prey.  Sometimes the weaker hunting dogs are maimed, injured, or killed by coyotes. This IS animal cruelty.

As children watch this blood sport as well:

The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 30:257–65, 2002

"A history of animal cruelty during childhood was significantly associated with APD [Antisocial Personality Disorder], antisocial personality traits, and polysubstance abuse. Mental retardation, psychotic disorders, and alcohol abuse showed no such association."

It may even be said this State sponsored sport "Contributes to the Delinquency of a Minor" due to the psychological damage children watching blood sports causes, leading to Anti-Social Personality Disorder and deviance.


QUOTE: "The commercial trafficking of live-trapped coyotes...also runs the risk of spreading canine distemper, parvovirus, rabies, brucellosis, tapeworm, canine heartworm, canine hepatitis or mange by taking it from one area and spreading it to other wildlife, domestic pets and livestock. "Even the (hunting dog) hounds that come into contact with these foxes and coyotes during the chase are at risk to contract and become carriers of these diseases," said wildlife biologist and state furbearer program coordinator Steven Dobey. "They can carry it back with them and possibly infect other pets and humans they contact, as was the case when the coyote strain of rabies was discovered in Alabama and Florida and linked to the importation of coyotes from Texas for use in chase pens." Humans were exposed and dogs had to be destroyed. "Disease transmission aside," said Patton, "many of these animals were trapped as nuisance animals. But a nuisance coyote trapped in one county and moved to another location can become someone else's nuisance when it escapes.

Coyotes and foxes also spread the tapeworm Alveolar Echinococcosis-a MICROSCOPIC tapeworm that is fatal to humans,  is being transmitted by coyote/fox pens. You can also get it from a hunting dog who has had contact with a penned coyote or fox.

SOLUTION: Please recommend permanent banning coyote/fox pen blood sports to eliminate these physical health hazards and for the mental hygiene of Floridian youths.

Thank you for your time.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Ken Haddad
  • Office of Executive Director
    Kathleen Hampton

Louis Terrance started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,372 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.