Judge refuses to dismiss Wis. wolf hunt challenge
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A judge refused Friday to throw out a lawsuit challenging the use of dogs in this winter’s wolf hunt, marking another victory for a group of humane societies working to reduce the chances of deadly dog-wolf encounters in the woods.
The group filed a lawsuit last month alleging Department of Natural Resources rules enacting the hunt don’t include any restrictions on dog training or use in hunting, creating the potential for bloody dog-wolf fights.
DNR attorneys asked Dane County Circuit Judge Peter C. Anderson to toss the lawsuit, arguing the agency didn’t have the authority to impose restrictions and the lack of regulations doesn’t harm the humane societies.
But Anderson said the lawsuit can proceed. The judge said DNR officials incorrectly assumed they lacked the power to impose restrictions and he agreed with the humane societies’ argument that they will have to spend more resources caring for injured dogs and wolves and unfettered dog use will put wolf trackers in danger.
“These are more than trifling injuries,” Anderson said.
The wolf hunt is slated to begin Oct. 15 and run through the end of February. More than 20,000 people applied for a permit; the DNR this week made 1,160 applicants chosen through a lottery eligible for a permit.
The hunt has left animal lovers outraged. The Republican-authored bill creating the hunt pulls out all the stops on wolves, allowing hunters to put out bait, trap, hunt at night and use dogs. The law says hunters can use up to six dogs to track or trail wolves after the November gun deer season ends but imposes no other limitations.