New Hidden-Camera Footage: Undercover at a Dog Hunting Pen

Animal Justice is releasing disturbing new undercover footage that exposes the cruel truth about penned dog hunting in Ontario—where hunters cage terrified coyotes and use them as live bait for dogs to hunt. The caged animals run desperately for their lives, but have no way to escape. When they are caught, they are often maimed or killed by the dogs. The dogs forced to participate can also suffer from injuries or even death at these events.

What We Saw

With Ontario passing laws to expand this cruel sport, our investigator went undercover and visited dog hunting pens to get a firsthand look into this secretive community. What we saw was shocking. In so-called “train and trial” competitions (a euphemism for sport hunting), our investigator witnessed the heartbreaking, frightened faces of coyotes who are forced to run for their lives, week after week, in the cruel competitions. Participants often competed for cash prizes, spoke coldly of their animals, and threatened violence toward dogs who didn’t perform well.

Hunting lobbyists defend penned dog hunting by denying that animals are ever hurt or killed in these pens. But this is false—the participants that our investigator spoke with were very clear that the dogs regularly catch, maim, and kill coyotes throughout the season. They explained that pen owners had to bring in new coyotes to stock the pens, because dogs catch them throughout the year.

Penned dog hunting photos taken by Animal Justice investigator.

To find out more about how dogs and coyotes suffer and die, we dug deeper. We found private Facebook groups for penned dog hunters, with hunters trying to sell hunting dogs, bragging that the dogs “hate coyotes and have the faces to prove it.” Hunters regularly shared photos of dogs with severe injuries, including a dog’s thigh impaled by a thick tree branch.

Worse yet, hunters posted disturbing photos and videos of their cruel hunts, including a man smiling at the camera while standing on a coyote’s head, a person dragging a dead coyote along the ground while encouraging puppies to chase the body, and videos of hunters encouraging dogs to maul dying coyotes.

Penned dog hunting photos from Facebook.

Penned Dog Hunting Is a Cruel Bloodsport

Penned dog hunting is widely condemned because it causes extreme suffering and distress to animals like coyotes, foxes, and rabbits, who are trapped from the wild, then put into enclosures so they can be chased and hunted by dogs.

This perverse form of sport hunting is illegal everywhere else in Canada, and in most US states. In 1997, Ontario changed the law to ban new dog hunting pens and 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. But in the spring of 2023, the provincial government went back on its plan, and passed a bill to expand penned dog hunting instead.

This reversal allows new penned hunting areas to be established and permits the transfer of licenses to new owners. Despite significant public outcry, the government caved into pressure from extremist hunting lobby groups such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ontario Sporting Dogs Association.

More than four out of five Canadians oppose hunting animals for sport, and it’s unacceptable that Ontario is allowing this cruelty to expand and flourish—all because a handful of sport hunters want to participate in a horrific bloodsport.