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Letter: Ending Fox Penning

To the Editor:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) applauds Virginia state Senator David Marsden (D-37) for his tireless efforts to pass legislation to crack down on fox penning, a brutal blood sport in which wild-caught foxes are released into fenced enclosures and made targets for packs of dogs in gruesome competitions. When the foxes are cornered and forced to fight for their lives, the dogs are also often injured. A bill to place a moratorium on fox pens – S.B. 42 – passed the Senate earlier this week, thanks to Sen. Marsden’s continued efforts to keep the issue of fox penning front and center to ensure that the foxes – and dogs – are protected against this vicious activity.

Over the past six years, more than 7,000 wild-caught foxes have been forcibly transported to Virginia pens often hundreds of miles away, where they are forced into these cruel fox penning competitions. As if this deplorable activity wasn’t cruel enough, the transportation of foxes and coyotes across state lines can also lead to the spread of rabies and other zoonotic diseases to domestic animals and humans, posing a threat to everyone involved.

Virginians have spoken on this issue. According to a 2014 Mason-Dixon poll, Virginia residents oppose fox penning by a margin of 9 to 1. It’s time to turn public opinion into law and stop this vicious and unnecessary cruelty inflicted upon defenseless foxes and dogs. These animals cannot speak for themselves, so it is our job to give them a voice and fight for their protection.

The ASPCA thanks Sen. Marsden for his concern for animals, and we strongly urge the Virginia House of Delegates to pass S.B. 42 to crack down on this barbaric and intolerable practice.

Ann Church

Vice President of State Affairs for the ASPCA

McLean