Deer fawns and other native wildlife babies orphaned in Ohio must now be killed - no exceptions.
Deer fawns and other native wildlife babies orphaned in Ohio must now be killed - no exceptions. Ohio residents beware – you have a fugitive deer fawn on the loose. He goes by “Norman” and is Wanted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODNR). Why? Because he is a tiny fawn. And despite heroic efforts by a police Sergeant to save his life, assisting your native wildlife is now illegal in Ohio.

On May 20, Norman’s mother was killed by a car that never stopped to see what he had hit. Two valiant Toledo police officers ended her suffering and pulled twin fawns from the pregnant deer, began CPR, milked the mother and saved the life of one baby. Now the ODNR wants that baby so they can kill it.

Risking hefty fines and jail time, Sgt Mark Fry and his wife refused to turn the fawn over to the Ohio DNR. They would have gladly surrendered Norman to a wildlife rehabilitator, except that is not an option by Ohio law today. The agency would have killed Norman and everyone involved knew it. Sgt Fry is rightfully a recognized hero.

This is not a question of population management, and if it were, is seriously unsound management (especially within an agency still under fire for artificially over-populating Ohio deer to appease recreational hunting).

This inhumane law banning wildlife assistance is an attempt at “legislating compassion”, of which can’t be done. It violates the essence of human nature. People are going to help – now they just won’t know how. State licensed wildlife rehabilitators risk fines and losing their license if they attempt to do the very job the ODNR licensed them to do. Makes sense, huh?

Fortunately, Norman escaped before the authorities arrived to seize and kill him.

Little Norman is not armed and not believed dangerous, despite the ODNR crying “disease”. They are referring to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) which is no threat to humans.There has never been a single case of CWD in the wild deer population in Ohio, yet this is their reason for banning all rehabilitation of deer fawns. Confused yet?

Deer fawns are not the only victims ordered killed under this law. In several counties there is also a ban against the rehabilitation of other native wildlife, such as raccoons. The excuse given for that rule is rabies. Last year there was ONE case. ONE! So if you find an orphaned or distressed baby raccoon you won’t be able to find any professional help in those counties. You are expected to kill him and all his siblings too.

But there is some hope for Ohio as citizens are becoming aware of the harsh laws against their wildlife – and themselves if they dare to help an animal.

Last year in Eastlake a Samaritan observed two police officers shoot a healthy raccoon and leave it gasping, suffering in pain, tossed into a dumpster. (Two weeks later a woman bashed a fawn's head with a shovel). The Eastlake Samaritan and many others did not take this sitting down. In March, a Samaritan in Seven Hills witnessed a similar incident when a police officer shot a raccoon from a tree on her neighbor’s property. And another such incident occurred in Logan. Kudos to the unfortunately horrified witness’s who stood up for the animals and persistently demanded police policy change. We need more people like them, and a DNR that will do its job because these stories don't end here.

None of the shot animals had behaved aggressively and not one tested positive for rabies. At least those few police departments have revised their policies; officers are to assume a less trigger happy approach when answering calls about non-aggressive wildlife conflicts. What about yours? Do they have the contacts for humane, NO-kill wildlife assistance professionals? Do not assume they do. (I was sent a photo of the “WANTED” wall in one of the police stations. There was a wanted poster of a raccoon that was 5x’s larger than any of the human felon “wanted” posters!)

The finger of blame for this lack of wildlife protection and constant maligning of animals remains pointed at the ODNR. In addition to their inexcusable mis-management of over-populating whitetail deer, the DNR is accused by many citizens of ignoring their concerns and conceding to sporting constituents that “lobby louder” and contribute to the agencies financial bottom line. More deer equals more hunting tags sold, and happy hunters. It also equals tremendous danger to motorists and conflicts with humans in suburban neighborhoods. Manipulating the population this way also increases a risk of disease – they created the mess, the hunters remain happy while the orphaned wildlife and non-sporting taxpayers pay the price.

Consequently, the fines imposed upon caring Samaritans that refuse to kill orphans like Norman is another source of revenue for the ODNR. Our wildlife agencies should be supporting peaceful co-existence with OUR wildlife, educating us about it, managing SAFE populations, and offering resources to protect it when distressed. The ODNR prefers to malign it, enact laws to endanger it (and the public), and has reportedly even advised citizens on how to drown, gas or suffocate an orphaned animal – euthanization methods not approved by the AVMA.

We have not tipped this Buck-eyed iceberg, and can’t in the confines of this article.

With ODNR’s support, various suburban areas have ill-attempted to resolve their local over-populations by allowing bow-hunting in residential areas off-limits to hunting. With over a 50% failure rate of hunters ever finding the animals they wound with their arrows, mortified citizens have been forced to fight this battle as well. Seeing deer such as in the above slide-show does not make for a pleasant or safe neighborhood. But again, it’s more hunting licenses to sell. This petition has more info.

So, if you happen to see Norman, please tell him to keep running. Perhaps offer him a disguise as a real felon since the opinion of some Ohio law enforcement agencies is that a human felon is less risk than a native deer or raccoon.

Shame on you, Ohio DNR. You are one kill of a healthy native animal behind North Carolina on the Wildlife Wall of Shame. And your citizens are beginning to see that. My observation of these citizen's is that they are quite tenacious.
What YOU can do now:

Write a letter to your Ohio paper and help expose the reality of how our wildlife is “managed”. Non-sporting wildlife enthusiasts are the majority! Let’s not be a silent one, and please do not assume our wildlife is being protected in its best interest. Ohio animal abuse laws DO extend to wildlife, but it takes caring Samaritans and officers with compassion to help enforce this law. Be the uniting voice our wildlife needs today.

Contact the Ohio DNR and voice your opinion of their anti-friendly wildlife regulations. Demand rehabilitation for native wildlife be allowed and that they support and promote their licensed rehabilitators.

Certainly speak up to the Ohio Wildlife Council. This Board of 8 commissioners directs the DNR and appears to be comprised primarily of hunters and ranchers. They are appointed by the Governor. Let Governor Strickland know you expect better wildlife management – one that serves all people and ALL native animals in Ohio.

 

 

 

 Can packs of dogs corner and shred animals "humanely"? Please let FWC know your opinion TODAY.

Can packs of dogs in a pen chase and kill animals humanely – or not? On June 23 the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) will face this challenge regarding a “sport” that has come to the attention of the public - Fox/ Coyote enclosures, or Wildlife Penning. That is FWC’s question, but widely opposed citizens find the word “humane” preposterous in this discussion, and have a few more questions.

First, didn’t all 50 states agree that society will not tolerate animals being trained to fight and kill other animals? Yes, we did. And 38 states have banned Penning. So why this debate?

The state does not profit from this; there is no fee to operate a Pen. This revolting hobby is historically steeped in criminal violations and requires excessive manpower to supervise. Some Pens are still permitted to the violators arrested in the costly, tax-payer funded “Foxote” investigation.

Secondly, if native wildlife is a resource held in trust for ALL citizens (per The Public Trust Doctrine) and the overwhelming public majority has clearly stated that they DO NOT want Penning activities, why debate any further?

The proponents for Penning are a very small, vocal minority. For arguments sake let’s pretend the entire NRA membership of 3.4 million was in support of Penning. It is a far safer bet that an overwhelming majority of the 11 million members in the US Humane Society would be opposed. Dozens of wildlife biologists have spoken against Pens and as of May 25 over 54% of public comments received by the FWC were citizens against Penning activities.

Still, the FWC has three options to choose from and might not choose to prohibit Pens. There is also an option for “phasing Pens out” over the next couple years. (Note: 15 permit applications have been filed during this temporary ban, 9 are brand new, and existing Pens anticipate exception from new “humane” rules.) The third option is allowing Pens to continue with proposed “humane” rules. Now it gets really confusing.

Exactly how does one allow a pack of frenzied dogs to “humanely” shred a confined animal? The proposed rules are so wide-ranging one immediately must ask how any agency could possibly enforce this. For example, one proposed rule is that all Pens must provide places where wildlife might be able to take refuge.

Specifically, how does one provide an escape spot for a coyote that a blood-thirsty hound can’t get in? Will the coyote be expected to close a door behind him? And if there are 100 bait animals in the Pen, will there be 100 safe places provided? Who will be there to assure the operators have not (again) deliberately blocked the escape spots to prevent refuge?

Other rules propose more electrified fencing, higher fences, and stronger fences; all of which endanger, have killed, and obviously inhibit the native wildlife. This includes protected and endangered species such as gopher tortoises and black bears. In the past a fox escaped a Pen with hounds in full pursuit and was brutally killed in front of families in a campground.

We need our FWC to protect our wildlife, not manage killing games that have nothing to do with wildlife management, predator control, or even hunting. Speaking of hunters – we hope they will stand up against a game with no apparent ethics, as Penning is clearly a black mark on their sport.

If hunters and state agencies want us to accept “ethical recreational hunting” they must begin to clean up some of the abusive practices that are going on, and without expectation that the trusting public attend wildlife meetings. There are dirty little secrets like Penning that have gone on too long. Discouraging spectators and forbidding cameras tells a truth. Abuse is not needed to manage our wildlife, and our society should be able to trust wildlife agencies to prohibit violent killing games.

Killing games. That description has been graphically established in Penning. Yet operators attempt to deny this, even swear they adore their bait animals. Why are they arguing over their proposed allowance of how many bait animals they may purchase from trappers. Well, if they didn’t die, where did all those bait animals go and why do you need to buy more? One operator went so far to declare they have a coyote fondly known as “Socks”, and for 9 years she actually brings the dogs to the owner’s trucks at the conclusion of the competition! Maybe that is her in the photos, fighting for her life.

No wonder FWC is deliberating this. I don’t know how anyone could possibly see straight through all the smoke being blown up … their way. I do commend them for addressing this now. But I implore them to listen to their public and just say NO! .

One last question: Who will pay to enforce the “new & improved” competitions if they continue? Answer: The same outraged taxpayers that are speaking out as a majority against Pens continuing under any conditions. I seriously hope the system is not that broken, and that we have not completely lost the meaning of “humane”.

Time is running out to make a comment to the FWC, or email the Commission here. It’s also running out for animals and the few people fighting so hard; we need you to help protect our wildlife from exploitation and suffering.

Further information can be found in the embedded links, as well as ProjectCoyote.org

 
Caution - Some photos are graphic. I ask you to become as outraged as your fellow animal friends. Photo credit: www.TrainingNotTorture.org, and the Alabama State Wildlife agency.

 

Florida draws line in sand against fox-coyote penning

 

A unanimous vote to permanently ban fox and coyote pens was heard yesterday in a packed meeting of the Florida State Wildlife Commission (FWC).

Over 100 concerned, fired-up wildlife enthusiasts spoke on this blood “sport” issue that began with one family seven months ago. While many pen operators and even State Representative Boyd pleaded and declared they “love, love, love” their game live-bait animals used to train their hounds to chase and kill, the other side of the room wasn’t buying it. Neither did the FWC Commission.

After 6 hours of public comments, State Representative Marlene O’Toole plopped a red notebook 8” thick on the podium declaring her efforts of due diligence on penning. (I just might campaign for that woman in the future.)

Rep O’Toole and several commissioners stated they fully intended to visit some of the FL pens before this day, however the lawsuit the Houndsmen filed against the FWC had obviously prevented that. This point raised eyebrows, since most pen operators said all day long that if they would have come out and seen for themselves, they would know how wonderful their pens are. One operator declared these bloody games were their opportunity to have family reunions.

Rep O’Toole had one burning question; if these operators keep declaring they don’t allow their dogs to kill their bait animals, why do they keep buying more from trappers, and say they need to continue doing so?

So many organizations and individuals deserve credit for this overwhelming effort and success there will be a follow up article to acknowledge the efforts. What amazed me, despite pro-penner State Representative Boyd’s accusation that “this was all just one organized campaign to misrepresent this sport”, was how many anti-penning groups and individuals I met that had not yet met each other! It left me feeling elated. Wildlife fans have barely tapped into their own energy force.

Never doubt a group of outraged citizen’s can’t rearrange a Clubhouse.

FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto was ready and willing to draw the line and declare Florida a leader. To my surprise and appreciation each commissioner spoke their opinion and agreed these pens defied Fair Chase ethics and the principle of “quick shot and kill” that ethical hunting must uphold.

Darn right. If hunters and state wildlife agencies want us to accept ethical hunting, we expect ethical standards and laws on their part. Commissioners agreed; “we can’t find a right way to do a wrong thing”; “we will never get the legislation to help fund regulating this anyway”, and “it simply is cruelty, constantly just chasing these animals”. Amen.

They were a little harsh on their opinion of coyote’s; they just don’t want them in FL. The FWC is back in my good graces today but what to do with the remaining animals in these pens must be addressed. Shipping them off to one of the remaining 11 states yet to ban penning is hopefully not an option since their inhumane life has been established.