SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla - A fox pen in Holt, Florida was voluntarily closed Monday. That'sbecause authorities with the Florida Fish & WildlifeConservation Commission said they found unauthorized coyotes on theland. However, nearby residents claim they've found much worse.
"I've seen the dogs maul the coyotes," said neighbor RaymieLainhart. "We've seen them run up and down the fence and justtackle them, and pull them apart."
Kristin Tank said she's seen the same thing. That's why shehelped start an organization called "End The Hunt" to stop wildlifepenning.
"The whole thing needs to be banned," she said. "It'sbarbaric."
Neighbors claim what happened behind the pen's fence isbasically legalized dog fighting, but hunters disagree.
"You don't want to kill the coyote," said a hunter inside theHolt pen, who didn't want to be identified. "We're here in order totrain our dogs to run in other pens for competition."
But Lainhart disagrees. "No, this is strictly a blood sport," hesaid.
According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife ConservationCommission, fox pens must be 100 acres or larger, with six footfences. Foxes and coyotes must also receive veterinary care ifinjured. The hunter we spoke with said the training wasn'tinhumane, but things sometimes go wrong.
"Accidents happen. If one gets killed, that's an accident. Youdon't want him killed."
Neighbors said they're glad the pen is out of commission, butLainhart is worried it's not over.
"There might be someone else who's brave enough to pick thisback up," he said.
Neighbors claim there used to be more than 20 coyotes inside thepen, but FOX10 has been told that number is down to three orfour.
The pen owner has 30 days to euthanize the animals. Once thispen is closed, there will be six permitted fox pens in the state ofFlorida.
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