As of September 1, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority is requiring hunters who use dogs to obtain a special permit, issued by the agency.
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The decision was prompted by a request from the animal rights group Let the Animals Live.
Wild boars are the only animals that can be hunted with the aid of dogs, under Israeli law, and the dogs can only be used to find or to flush out the quarry, or to chase the boars away from residential communities. The dogs must not be allowed to attack the boars.
“The use of dogs is permitted with a special permit from the regional inspector and only to locate the wild animal,” the new permit says.
“It is absolutely forbidden to set a dog on a wild animal. Anyone doing so will be prosecuted, the dog will be seized and taken into the custody of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.”
Officials in the Israel Nature and Parks Authority say that dogs are necessary for hunting wild boars, which cause severe damage to agriculture.
Boar hunting with dogs is relatively uncommon and is done mainly in northern Israel, they said.
The authority has found it difficult to eliminate the illegal hunting in the Negev of gazelles and rabbits by hunters using Salukis, a breed of dog that originated in Egypt. The new permit will not help to prevent this kind of hunting, the officials said.
“It will afford us better supervision over those who want to do things brutally and improperly,” said Dr. Yehoshua Shkedi, the authority’s chief scientist. “We decided, since [using dogs] was not very common and required only in certain situations and methods, to ban it in the general permit and allow it only by coordination with the regional inspector, who will decide when it’s allowed and when it isn’t.”
About six months ago attorney Yonatan Spiegel of Let the Animals Live asked Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz and Israel Nature and Parks Authority head Shaul Goldstein to change the regulations for hunting wild animals and to ban the use of dogs completely.
“Allowing the use of dogs to ‘locate’ wild animals is a severe cruelty to animals. The dogs don’t ‘read’ the law or understand its nuances and the distinction between attacking animals and merely ‘locating’ them,” Spiegel wrote.