Legislation to ban fox and coyote pens introduced

A new bill to prohibit fox and coyote pens has been introduced. Dave Cheatham and Linda Lawson introduced House Bill 1135 Tuesday.

Indiana voters also strongly support the legislation to prohibit the practice of fox and coyote penning. That's according to a statewide survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc.

Pens are fenced enclosures where dogs are released to chase down captive foxes and coyotes, often in competitions. The dogs often kill the fenced wildlife, leading to a constant demand to buy wildlife to restock enclosures.

The survey reported 85% of voters support a ban of the practice.

The report came after the Indiana Natural Resources Commission voted to permit fox and coyote penning facilities with the provision that no new enclosure will be permitted after January 2012. That vote was in November. The regulation is still pending.

"As a lifelong sportsman and hunter, I believe that the issue of 'penning' foxes and coyotes should be publicly debated and addressed by the General Assembly," Rep. Cheatham said. "This practice represents a fundamental departure from past practices in our state. It is important enough to be determined by the Legislature. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the House and Senate will allow this issue to move through the process."

The statewide survey also revealed that voters widely support pursuing a complete prohibition on canned hunts. Canned hunts are fenced enclosures where hand-fed animals are shot and used as trophies.

The survey of 625 Indiana voters was conducted statewide from Dec. 14 through Dec. 16, 2010.