Wolf attacks on domestic animals subject of public hearing in state House

 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 20, 2013

CONTACT: Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer, Rep. Kretz – (360) 786-7252
Amanda Webb, Public Information Officer, Sen. Smith: (360) 786-7869

Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, Rep. Short: (360) 786-7698

 

Wolf attacks on domestic animals subject of public hearing in state House

Smith legislation would allow citizens to defend pets, livestock in event of a gray wolf attack
 
Today, Senate Bill 5187, a measure which would give people the right to protect their property and their pets from a gray wolf attack, received a public hearing before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The bill was sponsored by 7th District Sen. John Smith.
 
John Stevie, who witnessed the near-fatal attack of his 60-pound dog Shelby by a gray wolf March 10, came from Twisp, Wash. to testify in favor of the bill and brought Shelby along to show the severity of the dog’s wounds from of the wolf attack.
 
County commissioners and their representative from Pend Oreille, Ferry, Stevens and Okanogan counties, or the Northern Tier group, also made the trip to Olympia to testify as a united front in favor of Senate Bill 5187.
 
“I appreciate the citizens who came from all across our state to testify on this important issue,” said Smith, R-Colville. “The state’s wolf conservation and management plan did not anticipate the extreme concentration of wolves that we see today in northeastern Washington and the resulting catastrophic damage it would render to family farms and rural residents. This bill restores the right to defend one’s home and property against a wolf attack – a natural human instinct and God-given right.”
 
Under the amended version of Senate Bill 5187, owners of livestock and domestic animals would be authorized to kill a gray wolf without a permit or license if the predator is in the act of attacking or posing an immediate threat to livestock or pets.
 
“What we’re talking about here is when we hear our dog getting snatched off the front porch in the middle of the night and attacked by a gray wolf we have some recourse to defend our pet,” said Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, and member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Right now, I could catch a wolf in the act of killing a colt or dog in my front yard and not be able to shoot the wolf to protect my animals. This bill interjects some common sense into this debate and puts in place modest protections for the many ranchers and pet owners in the Seventh District.”
 
In many cases, the lawmakers add, livestock attacks impact residents’ livelihoods and the regional economy. Dogs are commonplace on ranches as a way to drive away large predators, but that doesn’t always do the trick when a wolf has discovered a feeding area with vulnerable pets and livestock.
 
Smith notes that wolves are wild and unpredictable predators that can only be managed up to a certain point.
 
“Right now, many livestock and pet owners in this state are being held hostage to an unrealistic and unnecessary standard when it comes to wolf predation. There are people and organizations behind the wolf recovery effort that are either ignorant of our rural lifestyle or simply don’t care about the threat to animals and humans that wolves can pose,” said Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, and sponsor of similar legislation in the House. “This bill would provide a simple and very legitimate tool for those who would like to save their pets from being killed by wolves.”
 
Sen. Smith, Reps. Kretz and Short with 7th District residents and county commissioners March 20, including Shelby the dog attacked by a gray wolf March 10 in Twisp, in Olympia to testify in support of SSB 5187.
Caption: (bottom center) Sen. John Smith with Shelby, the dog attacked March 10 by a gray wolf near Twisp. Also pictured are 7th District State Reps. Joel Kretz and Shelly Short; Shelby’s owners, Mr. John Stevie and Ms. Sharon Willoya; and county commissioners and local representatives from Stevens, Pend Oreille, Ferry and Okanogan counties, who traveled to Olympia March 20 to testify in support of Senate Bill 5187 in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Smith is the prime sponsor of the bill. They are pictured in front of the legislative building.
 
Senate Bill 5187 is now awaiting executive action in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
 
Constituents are encouraged to contact committee members and urge the bill’s passage so it can receive a final vote in the House and be sent to the governor’s desk for signature. Committee member contact information can be located here: http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/AGNR/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx. The toll-free hotline to contact committee members is 1-800-562-6000.
 
Left to right: Seventh District State Reps. Joel Kretz and Shelly Short, Shelby with owner Sharon Willoya, Okanogan County Commissioner Ray Campbell and Pend Oreille County Commissioner Karen Skoog.
Caption: (left to right) Seventh District State Reps. Joel Kretz and Shelly Short, Shelby with owner Sharon Willoya, Okanogan County Commissioner Ray Campbell and Pend Oreille County Commissioner Karen Skoog. Sen. John Smith is located directly behind Rep. Short.
 
For more information, visit our Web site at: www.houserepublicans.wa.gov and www.senaterepublicans.wa.gov.  
 
###
Contacts:

Sen. John Smith (360) 786-7869
Rep. Joel Kretz (360) 786-7988
Rep. Shelly Short (360) 786-7908

 

 

Find us on... www.houserepublicans.wa.gov Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube Delicious iTunes
Washington State House Republican Communications
www.houserepublicans.wa.gov
455 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600