"'Fox Penning': Hunting Tradition Or Blood Sport?"

"On John Bassler's 143-acre Piney Run Foxhound Training Preserve in Milford, Va., a densely wooded property lined with electrified fences to keep about 30 wild foxes inside contained, the chase is recreation, he said, part of a Virginia tradition commonly known as 'fox penning.'"

"His property, about 80 miles south of the District, is one of 37 state-licensed foxhound training preserves, most of which are in the southern part of the commonwealth. Some are used to train dogs for hunting in the wild. More than a dozen of them also host field trials — staged competitions where hounds are scored based on how closely they track their quarry. Last year, more than 140 such competitions were held at Virginia preserves, according to the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

To critics, the practice of unleashing hounds on captive foxes is a savage abuse of animals, a blood sport akin to dogfighting that has become the subject of a mounting controversy in Virginia."

Caitlin Gibson reports for the Washington Post August 10, 2013.

Source: Wash Post, 08/12/2013