Indiana Coyote Rescue Center

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 would use.

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.

Those 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’ wildlife.

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 conditions.

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 die.

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 world.

Coyotes are not fighters. They have all kinds of body and vocal signals that they use with each other to keep from getting into fights.

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.

The 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 ignored.

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 coyote attacked.

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.

I 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.

With a 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


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561