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DNR sends reminder to dog owners (February 5, 2009)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds dog owners that it is illegal to allow their pets to harass deer and other big game.

Every winter, conservation officers receive reports from throughout the state of dogs chasing and sometimes killing deer or other big game. Wildlife regulations hold dog owners accountable for dogs chasing big game and conservation officers are authorized to put down dogs that do so. Dog owners would also be subject to a civil penalty.

Capt. Ken Soring, acting DNR enforcement chief, advises dog owners to be aware of the possibility that their dogs may be chasing big game and to take steps to prevent them from doing so.

“Deer are particularly vulnerable at this time of year because they are expending every bit of energy to stay alive, and the additional stress of being chased can affect their winter survival,” Soring said.

The Minnesota Game and Fish Laws handbook reads that a person who observes a dog wounding, killing, or pursuing in a manner that endangers big game may kill the dog without liability:

  • At any time, if the person is a peace officer or conservation officer; or
  • Between Jan. 1 and July 14, if the person is not a peace officer or conservation officer and the discharge of firearms is allowed.

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