GREENVILLE - Animal rights groups are taking the Department of Natural Resources to court over the use of dogs in the state's upcoming wolf hunt.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Dane County Circuit Court.
Those suing claim using dogs on a wolf hunt can result in anything from animal cruelty to legalized dogfighting.
When hunters take to the woods for the first wolf hunt this fall, they will be able to use dogs to track their prey.
That provision of the new law has triggered a lawsuit against the DNR. The Fox Valley Humane Association is one of eight plaintiffs in the case.
"The goal of the lawsuit is to have the DNR take a closer look at the restrictions that need to be put into place," said Liz Pirner, Fox Valley Humane Association resource and events coordinator.
Pirner says leash requirements need to be addressed, as well as what types of dogs can be used. Pirner says a dog like a hound could end up face-to-face with a wolf.
"They are a predatory animal, and they are a very complex animal. That needs to be a part of the conversation when we're talking about bringing a companion animal into the situation," said Pirner.
According to the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Alaska is the only other state to allow dogs on a wolf hunt.
"There are certain breeds of dogs that are capable of carrying on that type of hunting procedure, hunting with wolves. I know they are used in Europe quite a bit," said Ralph Fritsch, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation wildlife committee chairman.
Ralph Fritsch says he will apply for a wolf permit. If he gets a license, he says his bird-hunting dogs will stay home.
"If you can utilize a dog to hunt wolves, it has to be a highly qualified of better breed than what I have at the current time," Fritsch.
Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Bill Cosh would only issue a statement for this story. It says:
"We are disappointed with the reported news of a pending lawsuit. We are now in the process of reviewing the documents that we received late on Wednesday afternoon."
As of Thursday, the agency has sold almost 8,400 applications. The harvest quota for the five-month season is 201 wolves.
Meanwhile the fate of the season is in the hands of a Dane County judge.
A preliminary hearing for the case has been scheduled for Aug. 29 in Madison.
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