MADISON — The Natural Resources Board refused Wednesday to grant state wildlife officials permission to draft emergency restrictions on training dogs on wolves.
The board voted 6-1 during a meeting in Eau Claire to deny the Department of Natural Resourcesí request to begin the work.
The move comes after a coalition of humane societies filed a lawsuit alleging the DNRís current wolf hunt rules donít include any meaningful restrictions on dogs. The group contends the lack of regulations have set the stage for brutal dog-wolf fights that violate Wisconsinís animal cruelty statutes.
Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson last month issued a temporary injunction barring wolf hunters from training or using dogs in the hunt while he weighs the case. DNR officials had hoped adopting emergency training restrictions would persuade him to lift the prohibition in time for this fallís wolf season.
The hunt is scheduled to begin Oct. 15 and run through February. Statutes establishing the hunt donít allow the use of dogs until after the November gun deer season.
But board Chairman Dave Clausen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview he doubted the DNR could quickly craft regulations for this season that would satisfy the judge, the humane societies and hunters who use dogs. He said heíd rather do nothing than create a bad rule.
He said DNR attorneys will argue in court the board spent more than two hours considering the issue at the meeting and was convinced hunters could keep their dogs safe without regulations.