HYDEN, Kentucky - On Saturday April 12, Sheriff Paul Howard of the Leslie County Sheriff's Department hosted and sponsored an event that put the city of Hyden at serious risk of rabies. The event, known as the "Coon on a Log" race, entails wild raccoons that are placed on small rafts and pulled across bodies of water while large hunting dogs try and kill the animals.
Prior to the event taking place, hundreds of concerns citizens and animal advocacy groups urged the department to cancel the event, however it went on as planned.
The Global Conservation Group filed complaints against the Leslie County Sheriff's Department with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Leslie County Health Department, Cabinet of Health and Family Services, Kentucky Department of Public Health, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Agriculture.
Their complaint, in part, states "We believe this illegal event posed serious health and safety risks by exposing domesticated dogs and the people involved in the activity to rabies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, wild animals account for 92 percent of reported rabies cases. Raccoons accounted for 36.5 percent of those cases."
The complaint went on to say "In addition, holding native wild animals in captivity in the State of Kentucky is in violation of Statute “301 KAR 2:081. Transportation and Holding of Native Wildlife”.
The sheriff's department has not responded to the allegations against them.