By: - July 18, 2018 7:35 pm

Six fox-hunting pens have been shut down in Virginia following a two-year investigation by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office.

Nine people pleaded guilty to a range of charges, mostly misdemeanors but also a few felonies.

“Fox penning can become unlawful when operators put illegal foxes and coyotes into a fenced-in area and allow dogs to chase – and sometimes kill – the wild animals,” Herring’s office said. “The practice also has been known to deviate from training of hunting dogs to include gambling and competitions to see whose dog can catch the confined fox.”

Sarah Rankin at the Associated Press reported that the pens that lost licenses are among the first to be revoked since the passage of a 2014 law intended to phase out the controversial practice. The law grandfathered existing operations, though they will have to close by 2054.

The pens that lost their permits are in Buckingham, Lunenburg, Appomattox, Dinwiddie, King and Queen, and Brunswick.

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Robert Zullo
Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers and was previously editor of the Virginia Mercury. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Contact him at [email protected]