The News Virginian reports that proposals in the General Assembly would ban fox penning. Some hunt clubs use fox pens to train young hounds to hunt the proper quarry. Other foxhound enthusiasts use the pens to conduct competitive field trials.
Identical proposals for banning the practice have been introduced by Senator David W. Marsden, D-Fairfax and Delegate Kenneth R. Plum, D-Fairfax. Supporters of the ban claim that it is a cruel sport that ends with penned foxes being killed by hounds.
There are thirty-four state-licensed fox pens currently active in Virginia. Under state licensing rules, pens must be no less than one hundred acres in size with holes into which foxes can hide or escape. Other safeguards for the health and protection of the penned foxes are mandated by the licensing rules. The pens are regulated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Laura Donahue, Virginia Director of the Humane Society of the United States calls fox penning Virginia’s most shamefully kept secret. HSUS and the Richmond SPCA are among the groups fighting fox penning in Virginia. HSUS says there are about twenty other states in the country that allow fox penning. Florida, where coyote penning was also allowed, banned the practice in 2010.
For more details, see Rex Springston’s article.
Posted January 24, 2012