Sunday, April 5, 2015

Coyote Killing by Dogs - a New Popular Sport

A husband, wife and an older woman who seemed to be a stranger to the couple were sharing space with me in the waiting room of a local tire company. My interest was piqued when the man started speaking to the older woman about a coyote. He talked about the trap he used to catch the coyote, and that the door did not slam down hard enough to break a leg or injure the coyote. I wondered why he was catching the coyote, and I assumed it was to keep him out of chicken coops or away from their property. I was glad that he was concerned about the safety of the coyote and that the trap did not harm the coyote.

Was I wrong! The man continued matter-of-factly about how he opened the trap door and duct taped the coyote’s mouth shut. I was shocked! He went on proudly to say the coyote did not move or fight – he seemed to accept the situation. The older woman never reacted to the coyote’s mouth being duct taped and also accepted that abuse was customary when dealing with wild animals.

What happened next was unbelievable; the man pulled out his cell phone and showed the older woman a picture of the coyote in the trap, duct tape and all. The older woman commented on how big the coyote was and what a pretty, full red coat he had. At this point, normally, I would jump in the conversation to scold them, but I really did not know why he had trapped the coyote, so I decided to just listen. The conversation went downhill further than I ever imagined. I will recount everything I can remember from their conversation, and also add some information I have read about coyote hunting via dogs.

This man bragged about how he watched one of his greyhound dogs run up on a coyote, go underneath the coyote and grab his neck and bring him down, “a beautiful kill.” Yes, he said, greyhounds are great dogs.

In the woods, hunters now use greyhounds to chase a coyote for miles until the coyote gets cornered and drops from exhaustion or decides to fight. Then fresh fighting dogs, like curs, are brought in. Talk about an unfair fight! The fresh fighting dogs kill the coyote, sometimes ripping it apart. They also get injured and bitten in these fights. The dogs sometimes die from these fights with the coyote.

I hope readers feel just as bad for the coyote and not just for the dogs. People seem to be conditioned to cry over a dog, but not over a relative of a dog! Doesn’t this remind you of illegal dog fighting? But coyote killing by dogs, including coyote killing contests, are legal in most states.

But why did the man trap a coyote? I still sat silent, quite shocked, as the man spoke of how his dogs are trained. I gathered that he trapped coyotes to sell or give to a man who trains dogs to run after and kill coyotes. Dogs are trained by keeping one coyote at a time in a fenced off area and the dogs chase it and are “forced” to kill it. The dogs wear collars that shock them if they get sidetracked or go after anything other than the coyote.

Once the dogs graduate to the open woods, they often do not wear the collars because they could snag on a bush and get the dogs stuck. Imagine being out for a walk in the woods with your children when a pack of killer dogs comes your way. The dogs chase the coyote for hours because coyotes are skillful. Dogs that won’t kill are often euthanized, so again, this makes you wonder how owners of such hunting dogs can claim they love their dogs.

These killings in our area do not seem to be for the coyote’s fur, as far as I can tell. It costs much more to feed these expensive dogs, give them anti-infection medicine when they are bitten, and spend time training the dogs, so I doubt a profit could be made from the coyote fur. This hunt seems to be for the thrill of the kill, the false idea that they are helping get rid of a pest, and some “manly” custom.

In this particular case, I do not think the man was killing coyotes for his “bread and butter” but instead, as a new hobby. The man and his wife were educated, well spoken, dressed nicely and were attractive with otherwise good personalities. The entire time the wife engaged in pleasantries and was totally accepting of this brutal practice.

Are they doing any good by killing coyotes? It certainly does not seem like there is anything good about this horrific practice. Coyotes under stress will produce more offspring and any attempt to lessen the coyote population through hunting has failed. In areas where coyotes are plentiful people just learn to live with them, and scare them away as they will run to preserve themselves. Although that is not a solution to the coyote population either, hunting has been shown to be purposeless; so for now, it is best to learn to live with them. A vegan lifestyle is helpful as chickens in the yard attract starving coyotes! And of course, watch your small pets closely if you live in an area that has coyotes.

In conclusion, it seems coyote baiters kill coyotes for sport. I am certain all three people sitting with me in the waiting area, the older woman, the man and his wife, would tell you they loved the out-of-doors and that they were “conservationists.” They would most likely claim they especially loved dogs. As I hope I have shown, this is not really love at all.   It is up to humans to learn to become less aggressive and have a more peaceful definition of love.

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