Ever heard of Wisconsinâ€™s Conservation Congress? If not, youâ€™re not alone. But you can make a difference for dogs if you attend a Conservation Congress meeting tonight, April 8, in your county.
The Wisconsin Legislature created the Conservation Congress in 1934, saying, "The conservation congress shall be an independent organization of citizens of the state and shall serve in an advisory capacity to the natural resources board." The "natural resources board" sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, and the Conservation Congress still advises it, often with great influence. The Congress holds regular meetings in each county where anyone can vote on "delegates" to the Congress and give direct input by voting on specific questions.
Dogs in the wolf hunt? Yes, unless something changes.
This spring, one question on the ballot is especially important for me. In 2012, the Wisconsin Legislature created a wolf hunting season, and specifically allowed the use of dogs in wolf hunting. That made Wisconsin the only state to allow dogs in wolf hunting. After a lawsuit by the Wisconsin Humane Society, Wisconsin Federated Humane Societies, and others, a judge barred the use of dogs in the 2012 hunt.
The judgeâ€™s order ended up proving that no one needs dogs to hunt wolves. The 2012 wolf hunt was supposed to last until February but ended in December because hunters had killed the maximum number of allowed wolves in every "management zone" in the state, even though they werenâ€™t allowed to use dogs.
After the 2012 hunt, though, the judge removed his preliminary order. Unless the DNR or the legislature changes the current rules, dogs will be allowed in the 2013 wolf hunt.
We know from sad experience that confrontations between wolves and dogs end horribly, for dogs and often for wolves, too. Wolves canâ€™t climb trees like bears, or fly away like game birds. What they can do is tear a hunting dog apart with their teeth. It has happened far too often already when dogs hunting other game have encountered wolves in the woods. It will absolutely happen to many more dogs if we intentionally seek these encounters.
Reasonable animal lovers can respectfully disagree about whether wolf hunting should be allowed at all in Wisconsin. But mainstream animal lovers, hunters and non-hunters, widely agree that using dogs to hunt wolves is barbaric, unnecessary, and extreme.
How to be heard
You can help; your voice can be heard. You can attend the Conservation Congressâ€™s "spring hearing" in your county and express your view about dogs in wolf hunting. You donâ€™t have to speak publicly; you just attend the hearing and register. Youâ€™ll get a long ballot with dozens of questions, mostly about hunting issues. You donâ€™t need to vote on all of the issues.
The key question is a bit convoluted: itâ€™s question 68, "Would you favor legislation to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt and training dogs to hunt wolves?" My answer is yes, I favor legislation to prohibit using dogs in wolf hunting. I hope yours is too.
Conservation Congress hearings will be held in each Wisconsin county tonight, April 8, at 7:00 p.m., including the following locations in
Milwaukee: Nathan Hale High School, Auditorium, 11601 W. Lincoln Ave., West Allis, WI 53227
Webster Middle School, Commons, W75 N624 Wauwatosa Rd., Cedarburg, WI 53012
Union Grove High School, 3433 S. Colony Ave., Union Grove, WI 53182
There is more information on the DNRâ€™s website here about the Conservation Congress.
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Anne Reed
Published Oct. 8, 2013
My family is fostering a shelter kitten named Teddy. Talk about a win-win.
Published May 14, 2013
I worked in a Downtown office building for many years. Times would come - I never kept track of the time of year - when we would find beautiful little birds dead on the sidewalk every day for a few weeks. I always wondered what was happening, but kept forgetting to look it up. What were those birds?
Published April 24, 2013
"I'd like to have an animal, but I don't want to be sad when it dies." I hear this more often than you might imagine. When they talk to me, people often start sentences with, "I'd love to have an animal, but ..." I listen closely to what comes next. To save a lot of homeless animals' lives, we need to inspire a lot of people to have animals. Every time I hear, "I travel," "I'm allergic," "My cat wouldn't like it," and so on, it helps us plan better ways to find families who can make a place for a homeless animal.
Published March 29, 2013
Puppies. They sure are cute. But one major reason people get a puppy is completely mistaken. I said it once. You might have said it. You have friends who have said it. "I want a puppy so I can raise it to be exactly the dog I want."
Published March 20, 2013
Some dogs are fine when people and other dogs walk, or run, up to them. Some dogs are fine ... as long as they're left alone. The "Yellow Dog Project" is an effort to help those dogs.
Published March 4, 2013
Sometimes new ideas spread quickly.Â Sometimes they take forever.Â Here's one I'd like to speed up. For decades, the accepted approach to training dogs was "dominance theory." But negative training doesn't work for most people; it always makes dogs sad and often makes behavior worse; and it ruins the friendship that was the reason you got a dog in the first place.
Published Feb. 25, 2013
"Boy, I hate people."Â I hear that all the time from people who work in animal welfare.Â I disagree. I understand why they feel that way. When you do this work, you hear stories all the time that make you angry.Â Abuse and neglect.Â Domestic violence.Â Well-meaning stupidity.Â Even the simple failure to stick with commitments:Â "I'm moving out of town, so I need to surrender my 12-year-old dog."Â These stories would make anyone mad, let alone someone who cares enough about animals to have chosen shelter work over other, almost certainly better-paying, options.
Published Feb. 18, 2013
In animal sheltering work, it's easy to think of each adoption as a "happy ending" to that animal's story. That's one way to think about it - but it's just as true to think of it as a "happy beginning." The love that begins between a person and an animal when they leave our shelter often lasts for many years. It doesn't just save the animal's life; it shapes the person's life, forever.
Published Feb. 11, 2013
Hello and welcome to a new blog!Â I've been the executive director of the Wisconsin Humane Society for just over three years, and I'm excited to share stories and reports of our work here.Â