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The C.A.S.H. Courier

ARTICLE from the Fall 2008 Issue

Hunting With Dogs In Virginia

By Richard Firth

Richard Firth wrote an excellent summary of reasons to not allow hunting with dogs. His comments were sent to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Richard wrote:

1. Far too many hunting dogs are abandoned, leaving their care, if found in time, to the public pounds or private charities, with considerable drain on the resources of these organizations. Solution: Any hunting dog must have a hunting license (in addition to the regular license of his jurisdiction). The cost will be the cost to the jurisdiction of capturing the dog plus costs of holding the dog.

2. People that abandon hunting dogs are not punished. Solution: Require micro-chipping of all hunting dogs. Increase the penalty for abandonment from a misdemeanor to a class 6 felony.

3. There is insufficient revenue for animal welfare programs from licenses, and animal welfare programs should be self-sustaining. Solution: Eliminate kennel licenses which currently allow a discount for multiple dogs. Instead, all dogs will be licensed as single dogs and according to the prices for regular dog licenses.

4. Every person and animal must have a break from killing or being killed. Solution: Maintain a ban on hunting, or any kind of hunting training, after dusk or before dawn, or at all on Sundays.

5. There is little sportsmanship in today’s hunting and too much trespass. Solution: Outlaw tracking collars, or make it criminal trespass for more than one hunting dog equipped with a tracking collar to enter the property of a landowner who has posted against hunting. If multiple dogs are found on a posted property, provide civil penalties of $500 per dog for retrieval. Is sportsmanship achieved by sitting in a pick-up truck drinking alcoholic beverages and watching a GPS?

6. Most hunting dogs are treated as 2nd class dogs. Solution: To ensure humane treatment of hunting dogs, all hunt clubs and owners holding a kennel license (until this category of licensure is eliminated) will be inspected at least annually, and more frequently on a complaint-driven basis. Inspections will follow the format of those for public pounds and private shelters and will be conducted by Office of State Veterinarian, not local animal control officers.

7. Rabies is increasing as a public health problem. Solution: Require a rabies certificate for every dog in Virginia, whether a hunting dog or not. Each rabies shot must be given by a veterinarian, and individual certificates must be available for dogs owned under a kennel license or hunt club.

Even with these solutions, make no mistake about it, if I had my way all hunting would be totally outlawed for the harm it does to humans and animals.
Richard Firth of Virginia is a long time member of C.A.S.H.

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