Dear Editor, For centuries Man has relied on the assistance of dogs in the hunting of Wild Animals. However during the last Seventy-‐five (75) years there has been a change and many Countries now prohibit hunting with dogs. Most of the Countries of Europe have banned hunting with dogs. These include Germany (1934) where hunting with dogs is considered to be "unsporting", Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark ,Belgium, and Spain. Hunting with dogs was banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales in 2004. Figure 1 -‐ Taken on the Heights of Guanapo Road, Sept 19th 2012 In the USA it is legal to used dogs in hunting deer in only Nine (9) States. These are Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. This permission, with conditions, varies from State to State so that there are Zones within these nine States in which hunting deer with dogs is not permitted. e.g. In Louisiana, hunting deer with dogs, during the Open Season, is permitted in only Five (5) of Eight (8) Zones, It is illegal to hunt deer with dogs in the other Three(3) Zones at any time. Similarly in Georgia, it is illegal to hunt deer in Five(5) of the Seven (7) Counties in the State. In Califonia, the use of dogs in hunting beer and bobcats was banned from 1st January,2013. In The USA and in Canada the Hunting Laws and Regulations are strictly enforced and the penalties for contravening the Laws are very severe. In Costa Rica all Hunting was banned with effect from 10th December,2012.
With respect to "The Exercising of Dogs" by pursuing Wild Life during the Closed Season, which the Minister of Housing and the Environment, Dr.Roodal Moonilal, said, on announcing the reopening of the Hunting Season in December 2011 after the State of Emergency was lifted , that it was detrimental to the continued good health of hunting dogs if they were not permitted to hunt and to thus obtain exercise. Figure 2 -‐ Taken Caroni Roundabout, Nov 5th 2012 There is no Scientific Evidence published anywhere to support that statement, and in addition the US Fish and Wildlife Services, on my enquiry, has stated that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is unaware that "Training of Dogs" by pursuing Wild Animals during the Closed Season is essential for the dogs health. Apparently the Minister was misinformed or was incorrectly quoted by the Media. It would be very informative if the Honorable Minister of Housing and the Environment discloses his source of information? Figure 3 -‐ A poached PAWI -‐ Seized in Brasso Village, Dec 2010 In the USA and in Canada "Dog Training" during the Closed Season or as we call it in Trinidad and Tobago "Exercising of Dogs" by pursuing Wild Animals is considered to be hunting and is strictly controlled even in those Nine (9) States which permit the hunting of deer with dogs during the Open Season.
In Florida, "Dog Training" during the Closed Season may be permitted in specified Zones only and this provided that the dog is attached to a leash or rope held by the hunter. The dog is not permitted to freely pursue any Wild Animal. Today in 2013, unlike in the 1950s when the Conservation of Wildlife Act of 1958 was being formulated, it is relatively easy to obtain information on the Hunting Laws and Regulation of most Countries by simply visiting the relevant website on the Internet. For information on Hunting in the USA, may I invite you to visit the appropriate website of the US Fish and Wildlife Services. The Laws and Regulations e.g. Length of Hunting Season, Bag limits etc. may vary from State to State. It is important to note that Hunting Deer at night in the USA and in Canada is Prohibited..! It is my wish that in the future, the Ministers Advisors will seek the required information that is readily available and to not continue to mislead the Minister by supplying him with unsubstantiated or inaccurate information relative to Hunting and to the "Exercising of Dogs". In "little" Trinidad and Tobago it is time that decisions be made in favour of the Sustainability of our Limited Wildlife Populations and not in favour of the Killers of our Forest Animals and Birds. Ian Lambie Member Wildlife Conservation Committee 1961-‐1972