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VDGIF recommending changes on 'fox pens' in Va.

Monday - 3/18/2013, 4:10am  ET

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia wildlife officials have developed proposed new regulations for preserves in which hunting dogs are set loose in fenced training enclosures to pursue foxes.

The regulations developed by staff of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will be debated Wednesday at a meeting in Richmond.

The meeting is expected to attract a big audience, including operators of the state's 37 preserves, dog owners and opponents who want to shut down what they call fox pens. They argue the preserves are inhumane and little more than state-sanctioned animal fighting.

Defenders contend the foxes enjoy the chase, are treated humanely and the preserves provide a controlled training environment for foxhounds.

The game department said its website has received nearly 3,300 emails on the subject.

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