FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2013
Sen. John Smith (360) 786-7869
Rep. Shelly Short (360) 786-7908
Rep. Joel Kretz (360) 786-7988
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Eastern Washington residents earn right to protect against wolf attacks
After months of negotiations and legislative public hearings about how to address threats posed by gray wolves in northeast and north central Washington, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission today adopted an emergency rule that allows people to lethally remove a gray wolf without a permit in order to protect their property, pets and livestock.
The change to the state’s wolf-conservation and -management plan was spurred by a letter sent to the commission earlier this week, which asked for consideration of the proposed rule. The letter was signed by 10 state legislators, including Sen. John Smith and Reps. Shelly Short and Joel Kretz – the 7th District delegation that has worked tirelessly for months on wolf-related bills that became the subject of heated debates throughout the course of this legislative session.
“I am encouraged by the commission’s commitment to address the critical issues that affect Washington residents as wolves continue to multiply at a rapid pace,” said Smith, R-Colville. “This has truly been a team effort by Representatives Short and Kretz, district county commissioners and the thousands of residents who told their stories and voiced their opinions.
Smith’s measure, Senate Bill 5187, laid the foundation for the emergency rule’s adoption today.
“This is a good first step to move the conversation forward,” said Short, R-Addy. “I want folks back home to know that not only did we hear them, we never gave up trying to find a solution so that our constituents can have the peace-of-mind protection they need to protect their families, pets and livelihoods.”
The provision is only for federally delisted portions of Washington. Other stipulations include: any wolf kill must be reported to the state Fish and Wildlife Department within 24 hours; the wolf carcass must be surrendered to the department; and the owner must grant or assist the department in gaining access to the property for the purpose of investigating the incident.
“This came down to a matter of preserving the health, safety and welfare of our residents,” said Kretz, R-Wauconda. “I don’t anticipate this change will have a negative effect on the recovery of wolves, but it was absolutely necessary, especially as grazing season begins and because we know that non-lethal methods do not always work.”
The Fish and Wildlife Commission has the authority, granted by the Legislature, to adopt emergency rules when necessary to preserve public health, safety, and general welfare.
Amanda Webb, Public Information Officer, Sen. Smith: (360) 786-7869
Brendon Wold, Deputy Communications Director, Rep. Short: (360) 786-7698
Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer, Rep. Kretz: (360) 786-7252 Washington State House Republican Communications
455 John L. O’Brien Building
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Olympia, WA 98504-0600