Letter to the editor: Legislature should change bear-hound hunting law

I am writing concerning the ongoing coverage of the outrageous incident of bear hounds attacking an out-of-state couple and their dog in Ripton. This story, from the standpoint of a civilized society, is alarming on so many levels.

As stated in the Independent, the law reads, “A person shall not take black bear with the aid of dogs unless the person is in control of the dog or dogs.” The operative word here being control. It goes on to define Control of Dogs to include handling and restraining.

How is it possible to handle and restrain one’s dog pack when they are miles away? Every bear hound hunter is in violation the moment those dogs are out of sight. Knowing where your dogs are and controlling your dogs, as the law states, are two totally different things. The long and gruesome attack in Ripton clearly demonstrates this.

Therefore it seems that the activity of bear hound hunting is by it’s very nature consistently in violation of the law that defines it. So if it is not possible for bear hound hunters to obey the law as it is written, the law needs to be clarified or changed. And since it is not a good idea to allow in any way packs of large hounds trained in blood sport to freely roam and rampage across the countryside with no accountability, the new law needs to eliminate the free ranging hound issue. This is the source of all the problems associated with bear hound hunting. 

It is time for the Legislature to show courage and leadership and make this happen. Future generations will thank you, while wondering why it took you so long to act.

Bill Vought

Orwell

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100