Guest blog post from Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
Thanks to the efforts of the ASPCA and other advocates in Louisiana, the U.S. Forest Service decided to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt deer in Louisiana’s Kisatchie National Forest (KNF). We’d like to thank our supporters in Louisiana who contacted the Forest Service on this issue, and we commend Chief Tom Tidwell of the U.S. Forest Service for this decision to help protect Louisiana’s dogs.
The Kisatchie National Forest is Louisiana’s only national forest, spanning over 600,000 acres across the central part of the state. In the past, KNF has allowed hunters to use dogs while hunting for deer. This policy proved disastrous for many of the dogs involved in these hunts. We received multiple reports of dogs being left behind in the forest to fend for themselves or being hit by speeding vehicles trying to keep up with the pace of the hunt. Lost, forgotten, or abandoned dogs were forced to beg for food from surrounding landowners, kill wildlife to survive, or starve to death.
The Forest Service has done the right thing with the new policy. No other federal lands in Louisiana allow dog-deer hunting, and the state has already banned the practice in Wildlife Management Areas. It follows that the KNF would adopt a policy that minimizes conflicts with users and surrounding landowners, reduces negative impacts on its wildlife, and also reduces the cruel treatment of hunting dogs.
The Forest Service’s decision shows how effective citizen advocacy for animals can be. The hundreds of comments that the Forest Service received from our supporters in Louisiana helped play a role in its decision. Be sure to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to receive updates on issues affecting animals and to learn how you can be an advocate for animals.