Ontario About to Issue New Permits for Penned Dog Hunt Bloodsport

Last year, Ontario passed a sickening new law to expand penned dog hunting in the province, which was in the midst of being phased out. In this disturbing bloodsport, hunters train dogs to chase and maul foxes, coyotes, and rabbits in an enclosed area—where they have no chance of escaping, and are often killed.

It has been illegal to open new dog hunting pens since 1997, when the province passed laws to phase out the practice due to the cruelty involved. The number of dog hunting pens in the province plummeted from around 50 to 60, down to only 24.

Ontarians rose up against plans to expand dog hunting pens, with thousands of you contacting legislators to voice your opposition. The pressure paid off—the province hasn’t yet passed regulations that it needs to issue new licenses for dog hunting pens. Animal Justice is continuing to speak up against the violent and shameful pastime, and is urging Ontario NOT to issue any new permits for cruel penned dog hunting.

Image shows coyote running from dogs in penned dog pen in Ontario.
An Animal Justice investigator witnessed a terrified coyote running from dogs in a hunting pen with nowhere to escape.

When Animal Justice learned of Ontario’s plan to bring back penned hunts, we went undercover at a penned dog hunting contest to get a behind-the-scenes look at what really happens at these events, and expose the cruel truth to the public.

What we saw was heartbreaking and disturbing. In so-called “train and trial” competitions (a euphemism for sport hunting), terrified coyotes are kept in large, outdoor cages. They are forced to run for their lives, week after week, pursued by dogs in cruel competitions where cash prizes are up for grabs. Participants admitted that the coyotes have to be replaced when they are killed by the dogs. The dog hunters spoke coldly of their animals, and threatened violence toward dogs who didn’t perform well.

Our investigation also uncovered vast amounts of evidence in private Facebook groups, where dog hunters posted photos and videos of dogs attacking coyotes, and dogs who had sustained injuries themselves due to the dangerous conditions.

Image shows dog injured from penned hunting.
Dog is impaled during penned hunt.
Photo: Robert Towns | Ontario field Trialers Facebook group.
Image shows hunters posing with hounds and dead coyote in penned hunt.
Photo: Stuart Briscoe | Facebook

Despite the sheer cruelty documented at the hunts, the hunting lobbyists who pushed for the ban misled the Ontario legislature, claiming that no coyotes are killed. In the end, Ontario bowed to the lobbyists and rammed through legislation to allow new dog hunting pens.

The vast majority of Canadians oppose torturing and killing animals for sport, and penned dog hunting is nothing more than a disturbing form of entertainment for a small group of extremist sport hunters.

Please join our urgent call to action! Tell Ontario to cancel plans to issue new licenses.