Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Wolf hunt lawsuit puts spotlight on DNR malpractice
“I am not a hunter, but I do know when I see abuse of power … and (DNR) agency malpractice.” — Attorney Robert Habush (Habush, Habush & Rottier)
Massive abuse of power and DNR wildlife malpractice have been the norm for an agency funded by killing licenses instead of general public funds. Follow the money. Either this agency should be relegated to the trash bin of history, beyond redemption, or be completely restructured.
Wolves. Wilderness. Wisdom of natural systems. Wolves as apex predators are the great balancers. It is the power of the wolf that is rising, exposing relentless long-term cruelty to all wildlife. Besieged on all sides, brother wolf howls his warning that man is wantonly destroying all that is real and valuable and sustaining. Pay attention. As the wolf goes, so goes man.
The DNR has rarely, if ever, been held accountable to citizens who do not kill wildlife and wildlife’s interests. With reckless megalomania, the agency has ramped up trapping and hounding of our wildlife over the past decade. This has been masterminded by the insidious political opportunism of George Meyers and his deadly Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
The recent lawsuit brought by a coalition of humane societies is a first foray to address a vicious part of that destruction. It contends that the rules the DNR set for using dogs in the state’s first wolf hunt — Wisconsin is the only state to allow hunting wolves with dogs — do not include reasonable measures to prevent the carnage that would result to both species from direct wolf/dog contact.
Research shows that wolves attacked by dogs are more likely to consider all dogs threatening and prey.
I found only two videos on youtube of dogs set on wolves — one in Mongolia and one in Algeria.
The lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction on the hunt until restrictions are placed on wolf killer wannabes in how they can train and use dogs to hunt wolves.
Carl Sinderbrand of the law firm Axley Brynelson argued for the plaintiffs that DNR wolf expert Adrian Wydeven was deliberately kept from testifying to the Legislature and Natural Resources Board. Sans science, the DNR and Natural Resources Board’s failure to set rules was “arbitrary and capricious … quick and dirty.”
Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Hirsch essentially argued for the DNR that the DNR rules are just a continuance of hunting policies. Bad law is used to excuse more bad law. Dogs engage and attack whatever wild animals they encounter, not just those the DNR has authorized to be chased: bears, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, rabbits, raccoons, possums, turkeys and waterfowl. The five-week bear slaughter runs Sept. 5-Oct. 9; in some parts of the state, dogs can be used as of Sept. 12. Thousands of cubs will be killed.
The DNR wants the lawsuit dismissed on the following grounds:
• The humane societies and citizen plaintiffs do not have standing because they do not hunt or run dogs. (Apparently, the only citizens who have standing are the perpetrators of the abuse.)
• The DNR is helpless because the Legislature overrode their authority. (Rep. Scott Suder was either lying when he said he worked with the DNR to craft the legislation, or the DNR’s “helplessness” is contrived.)
The DNR and Natural Resources Board were charged with setting the number of wolves that could be killed, and rules for that kill. As biologist Barb Eisenberg testified, “Zero is a number. It is the proper number.”
The Natural Resources Board nixed hunting at night with dogs, demonstrating their power to set limitations on the use of dogs – yet they left “training dogs on wolves” with no rules. Vacating their responsibility leaves dogs running everywhere, unlimited, unlicensed, year-round, night and day, statewide, on all wildlife.
The use of dogs should be ended altogether, under Wisconsin Statute 951.08(1): “No person may intentionally instigate, promote or abet … restrain or allow any place to be used for a cockfight, dog fight, bullfight, or another fight between the same or different kinds of animals or between an animal and a person.” Other parts of the statute disallow people to train or own animals for fighting, or be a spectator of such events.
Attorney Habush remarked to the judge, “Why the heck is the DNR and attorney general, dedicated to prohibit animal cruelty, putting dogs, wolves, and all other wildlife at such risks? Why did they ignore these risks?”
The DNR, like many of our political entities, is acting in exact opposition to its mandate. DNR’s wildlife management, as a whole, is a violation of Wisconsin animal cruelty laws.
Editor’s note: On Aug. 31, after this column was written, Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson granted the humane societies’ request for an injunction and temporarily halted the use of dogs in Wisconsin’s wolf hunt.