Dogs vs. hogs: Entertainment for some, cruelty to others

Biloxi Sun HeraldJuly 6, 2010 

JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. — Competitions in which a dog holds a boar at bay for two minutes in a small arena have raised a ruckus.

Animal-rights activists are afraid both the hog and the dog suffer. People who support events say it's they who suffer, by being misunderstood and denied use of their land for a sport that's sanctioned by state law.

Dogs snarl, bare their teeth, snap and bark ferociously to manipulate the boar. The boars snort, butt and sometimes toss the dogs.

The supporters say all that looks worse than it is, even though hog dogs often wear protective vests. Advocates say it's a family event. Children got involved in contacting their county supervisors about it.

Supervisor Melton Harris said the issue was so hot he was receiving 50 to 60 e-mails a day, and "it got to where every time your BlackBerry vibrated it was something on hog dogs."

Then the Board of Supervisors heard the issue and decided it's OK for the group to continue holding the events on the private ranch. The board heard a building official was sent to an event, found zoning violations and felt the need to call the law because of the attitude of some of the people.

The board added conditions to its permission. It required an auxiliary police officer be on the grounds at future events, and the public-address system to be turned off at 9 p.m. so people living nearby could sleep. And the board will review the permit in a year.

The vote was 4 to 1. Here's what the board had to say.

Harris, who represents Moss Point, said opponents of the activity are misinformed.

"A lady called from Hattiesburg. She was under the impression that the dogs get in there and kill the hogs," Harris said, "like the old gladiator days when there are lions in there …. Comments about dogs injuring the hogs were not correct. And those who were alleging those things did not show up (at the hearing.)"

The vast majority of people at the hearing were in favor the sport.

Read more of this story at SunHerald.com

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