CeAnn Lambert, one of the world’s few coyote rehabilitators,
testified at the Natural Resources Study Committee to restrict the
export of Indiana’s live coyotes to be used to train hunting dogs.
Thanks to CeAnn and those who worked with her, Karin McKenna, Laura
Nirenberg and Kaye Bauer, to make this public. Thanks also to the IN DNR,
the law passed.
My name is CeAnn Lambert. I work with the renowned ethologist and
director of Wolf Park, Dr. Erich Klinghammer as his advisor on the
social behavior of coyotes. Whenever the Wolf Park receives calls or
questions about coyotes, Dr. Klinghammer refers them to me. I have 21
years’ experience in socializing coyotes, wolves, and foxes. I am
currently caring for 21 injured, orphaned, or seized coyotes that have
been placed with me by conservation officers and animal control
authorities. I can talk about coyotes from a different perspective from
other people because I have observed captive coyotes for 21 years.
On April 3, 2007, I received an e-mail from game breeder Tim Rose
wanting to know how to bottle feed coyote puppies and the formula that I
This was before I knew about live bait dog training. The same
day, he talked on a trappers’ chat board about having seven to eight
coyote pups in the pole barn that were born from coyotes under his game
breeders license. He’s going to sell them for live bait training.
coyotes still haunt me. I helped keep them alive for him to sell to
these dog runners to be torn apart. That was before I even knew what was
going on with Indiana trappers. That’s what he was using his game
breeder’s license for.
If you go to their chat boards you will find a
lot of “LOL”, which means “laugh out loud” when they talk about animals
who have lost their toes, chewed off a leg, or just died from the stress
of being trapped and not able to run away from the pain.
On one of the
chat boards the dogs are chasing a coyote and the men are laughing but
they are also angry because behind the dogs another coyote is running
and howling and barking. A man turns around and says, “I just wish that
coyote would shut up or the dogs would turn around and kill it!” That
coyote was telling the others to run, there is danger.
One of the ways
they get dogs to chase coyotes is to shoot the coyote in the butt while
the coyote is still in the wire crate. Then, while the dogs are on
leashes, they let them smell the blood. They then let the coyote out to
drag itself in the grass.
The dogs are then let off their leashes and
run the coyote down and kill it. In their own words, “Let him drag his
sorry ass off”. They think this is funny. Indiana trappers are the
biggest suppliers of coyotes to these dog-running pens. They also sell
foxes and raccoons, but they get more for coyotes.
That is what is
happening to Indiana wildlife. What would the public think if this was
done with fawns or bunnies? Whether it’s a fawn or bunny rabbits or
coyotes, it is still the state’s wildlife therefore the peoples’
These trappers are the Michael Vicks of wildlife and make him look
like a saint. There is a difference between hunting an animal, and
torturing and abusing a living being for monetary gain.
Dog fighting is
illegal in Indiana for a reason, and I do not see the difference between
dog fighting and putting a coyote in an enclosed area while several dogs
chase it after it has been kept in a small carrying crate in overcrowded
Sometimes they are kept in cages of five to six coyotes for
weeks where they can’t stretch their legs. Sometimes they can’t even
stand because they have had to stay in one position for so long. They
are fed hog innards because that is the cheapest thing for the trappers
to feed them.
These animals are not the demons that the trappers would like you to
think they are. They have a social order and a language of their own
that they each understand. They are good parents. Male and female both
take care of the pups when they are born. The male coyote even brings
food to the mother when she goes into the den to have her babies because
she will not leave them. Without him to care for her the puppies would
During breeding season, I have observed my coyotes mate then go
over to a corner of the pen. They lie down next to each other and curl
up together with one’s head resting on the other. These so-called
“demons” are animals that have feelings of a higher order in the animal
Coyotes are not fighters. They have all kinds of body and
vocal signals that they use with each other to keep from getting into
They can’t afford to be injured because injuries would interfere
with their ability to survive. When they’re turned loose in the dog
running pens and the dogs take them to the ground, the coyote gives her
signal that she has trusted all her life with her con-specifics.
first thing she does is roll over on her back and urinate. That is a
submissive cut-off signal that she would use with another coyote. It
means, “I give up! There is no need to go any further! You don’t need to
hurt me!” The dogs do not understand that signal.
Next the coyote tries
another signal. She turns her head to expose the tender part of her
throat. She thinks the dogs should understand this one, but it too is
By now there are three or four dogs tearing her apart. If she
is pregnant her babies get ripped out. She is losing blood and the pain
is horrible. The end of her life is welcome.
The last sound she hears is
the sound of humans laughing and egging on the dogs to tear her apart.
Where is the “training” in this?
The trappers even have a website that misleads people into thinking
that coyotes will kill our children. There is only one confirmed killing
of a child by a coyote. That was in California in the early 1980’s. A
toddler’s parents had been feeding the coyote and left the baby out in
the yard with a chicken leg in its hand. When the “nice doggie” came up
and wanted to take the chicken leg the child started crying and the
But yet the trappers’ websites are FILLED with
unconfirmed claims. They also claim that the coyotes never get hurt. If
this is so, then why do they need to sell more? By their own claims,
they should be able to use the same ones over and over. You can see by
the attached pictures that this is a lie.
There are statutes that say that trappers can trap coyotes and do
whatever they want with them. The one statute that really does irritate
me is the one that exempts the trappers from our animal abuse laws.
have to accept the fact that they use their abusive leg hold and Conibear traps. Even though they have all these statutes written that
give them these certain rights, they continue pushing the envelope
further. If that were not the case we wouldn’t be here today.
game breeder’s license, they have the right to raise them or take them
from the wild and sell them across state lines and even within the state
to these places that turn them loose then let dogs tear them apart. I
can’t change the statutes but I can back the DNR when they want a new
administrative rule that says the trappers can’t participate in this
abusive activity of dog “training”.
The state has a responsibility to hold the wildlife of Indiana in
trust for all of the people of Indiana, not for just a fraction of the
adult population. Mr. Crider said that “coyotes are a wild animal
protected by Indiana law and are the property of the people of Indiana.”
This is the first time in my lifetime that I have heard the DNR say
anything about the animals being held in trust for the people of Indiana
as the peoples’ property. These are my coyotes.
As an Indiana citizen I urge you to not support the selling
of coyotes for such an atrocious so-called “sport”. Don’t let anyone
sell the peoples’ property for their personal financial gain, sometimes
great financial gain.
Thank you for allowing me to testify today.
Please visit CeAnn Lambert’s site