Fox penning is a blood sport in which dozens of dogs compete in a fenced-in area to chase—and sometimes rip apart—foxes and coyotes. Trapped in the wild and sold to fox pens, often in other states, the fox or coyote must run for his life inside fences where there is no hope of getting away.
Grisly from start to finish, fox penning begins when the steel jaws of a leghold trap snap shut on a coyote or fox, inflicting terrible pain. A trapper removes the animal from the trap and packs her into a cage with other injured animals.
The caged animals may be hauled hundreds of miles. With no food or water, some animals die on the trip. Once bought by pen operators, the foxes and coyotes provide amusement for participants who travel from state to state to wager on their dogs.
With dogs tearing apart the captive animals, there is a constant demand for fresh wildlife for the fox pens.
News & Events
March 5, 2014
The Virginia House of Delegates has passed legislation restricting inhumane fox pens. It will now go to the Senate for approval of the House amendments. The Humane Society of the United States’ Virginia State Director Laura Donahue issued the following statement in response:
February 20, 2014
A subcommittee of the Virginia House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources voted down legislation to restrict inhumane fox pens. The Humane Society of the United States Virginia State Director Laura Donahue issued a statement in response.
February 7, 2014
The Virginia Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources committee passed a bill to restrict fox pens – fenced enclosures where packs of dogs are released to chase down wild-caught foxes, often killing them – by prohibiting new facilities from opening. Senate Bill 42 passed with a bipartisan vote of 8-7. The Humane Society of the United States Virginia State Director Laura Donahue issued the following statement in response:
January 15, 2014
Virginia voters overwhelmingly oppose the practice of “fox penning” by a more than 9-to-1 margin – and a large majority support legislation to prohibit the practice. A new poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research surveyed 625 statewide voters on various animal welfare issues. Fox pens are fenced enclosures where dogs are released to chase wild-caught, stocked foxes, often killing them. More than 7,000 foxes were subjected to these unsporting and inhumane events in Virginia in the last six years.
February 14, 2014
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently seized 2,000 pounds of illegal shark fins from a San Francisco merchant. That merchant is a part of an association whose members sold and distributed shark fins to restaurants and grocery stores and who had sued the State of California challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on the sale and trade of shark fins. In the wake of this major bust, the association has voluntarily dismissed its legal challenge.
October 23, 2013
The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion directing the city attorney to draft an ordinance to prohibit the use of bullhooks and other tools to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants used in circuses and traveling shows to take effect in three years.
July 3, 2013
Gov. Maggie Hassan signed legislation that allows New Hampshire to become a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.
June 7, 2013
Gov. Peter Shumlin signed legislation that prohibits the importation and possession of wild pigs and their hybrids into law. House Bill 101, introduced by Rep. David Deen, D-Windham, bans feral pigs from captive hunts – fenced pens where trophy-seekers pay to shoot the trapped animals for guaranteed kills.