Rejected: Ministry Refuses to Review Penned Dog Hunting

The province of Ontario has rejected an application filed by Animal Justice and Coyote Watch Canada seeking legislative review under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, with the aim to end penned dog hunting in the province.

The Environmental Bill of Rights is a cornerstone statute that gives Ontarians the right to request a review when a law or policy needs improvement to protect the environment. That’s certainly the case with penned dog hunts, where hunters set dogs loose to chase and often maim or kill caged wild animals like coyotes, foxes, and rabbits.

Penned Dog Hunting is a Cruel Bloodsport 

Penned dog hunts are so horrific that they were on track to being phased out in Ontario after legislation passed in 1997 that outlawed new pens. But in 2023, the provincial government decided to reverse the ban. Extremist hunting lobbyists misled legislators about the brutality inflicted on the dogs forced to compete, and the captive wildlife used as bait. They falsely claimed that animals are never hurt or killed in the pens. 

Animal Justice went undercover at a dog hunting pen in 2023 to reveal the shocking brutality that occurs in the hunts. Participants openly admitted that the dogs regularly catch, maim, and kill the coyotes. Hidden-camera footage shows terrified coyotes running for their lives, and participants threatening violence toward dogs who didn’t perform well. 

In private Facebook groups, which Animal Justice gained access to during our investigation, hunters shared photos of dogs with severe injuries, and disturbing videos—including a man smiling at the camera while standing on a coyote’s head, and hunters encouraging dogs to maul dying coyotes. 

Ontarians Oppose Penned Dog Hunting

The vast majority of Canadians don’t support torturing and killing animals for sport. Coyotes used in these hunts are abducted from their natural habitats to be held captive for entertainment and financial gain—a practice not far from wildlife trafficking and dog fighting, both of which are illegal and widely condemned by the public. 

Penned dog hunting, outlawed in every other Canadian province and most US states, is nothing more than a disturbing form of entertainment for a small group of extremist sport hunters.