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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

  • April 8, 2014

    Virginia Gov. McAuliffe Signs Legislation Prohibiting Inhumane Fox Pens

    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation restricting cruel fox pens – staged competitions where wild-caught foxes are trapped and stocked inside fenced enclosures to be chased down by packs of dogs.

  • March 5, 2014

    Virginia House Prohibits Inhumane Fox Pens

    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

    Fox Pens to Remain as Virginia House Committee Votes Down Sensible Legislation

    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

    Legislation to Crack Down on Fox Pens Passes Senate Committee

    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:

More News & Events

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    Federal Court Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging California Shark Fin Law

    The federal district court in the Northern District of California dismissed a lawsuit challenging California’s shark fin law.

  • February 14, 2014

    On Heels of Major Criminal Bust, Shark Fin Distributors Drop Lawsuit

    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

    Los Angeles City Council Bans Abusive Elephant Training Devices

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    July 3, 2013

    New Hampshire Takes Important Step to Crack Down on Wildlife Poaching

    Gov. Maggie Hassan signed legislation that allows New Hampshire to become a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

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