A judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the use of dogs in Wisconsin’s first wolf hunt Friday, siding with a coalition of humane societies that argue the law does not protect dogs enough.
A group of humane societies sued the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, alleging the use of hunting dogs during the hunt would lead to deadly confrontations. Dane County Judge Peter Anderson placed a temporary injunction on the use of dogs on the wolf hunt Aug. 31. The DNR had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
“In light of Judge Anderson’s decision to not rule in favor of the department’s motion to dismiss, we will continue to discuss our options with our legal team and develop a strategy in the coming weeks,” DNR spokesperson William Cosh said in a statement.
The wolf hunt will run from Oct. 15 through the end of February. According to a DNR statement, 1,160 hunters will receive permits to hunt wolves out of the 20,272 people who applied.
“We are pleased with the court ruling again in our favor,” said Jodi Sinykin, an attorney for the humane societies.
Sinykin said the next step in the case will be asking the court for declaratory judgment and a statutory directive putting in place restrictions on the use of dogs. If the DNR does not meet the restriction, the court would place a permanent injunction against the use of dogs in the hunt.
Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators Inc. spokesperson Jeff Nass said he supported the law as written and will continue to fight for the hunter’s right to use dogs in the hunt. He said hunters would never endanger their dogs.
“Anybody who knows hunters knows they love their dog as much as anything,” Nass said.
He said the hunt was necessary to save the state millions of dollars in payments to farmers who suffer wolf attacks.
Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, who voted against passage of the wolf hunt bill last March, said the use of dogs concerned him because of the size of wolves. He added while hunters are allowed to use dogs to hunt bears, the animals are different.
“You’re hunting a 110-pound wolf with a 5-pound dog, and unlike bears, wolves don’t climb trees,” Hulsey said.