SPOKANE – A wolf caught in the act of attacking livestock or pets in parts of Washington can immediately be killed by the property owner without a permit, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission decided Friday.

Previously, livestock owners needed to obtain a state permit to kill a gray wolf that was attacking their animals.

The commission unanimously approved a temporary emergency rule requested this week by a bipartisan group of state legislators.

“We feel this proposed emergency rule is necessary for public safety and welfare,” said commission chair Miranda Wecker of Naselle.

The rule can remain in effect for up to eight months. The panel also decided to pursue a permanent rule allowing the killing of a wolf caught in the act of attacking livestock or pets – a process that will take months and could result in a rule different from the emergency provision.

Commissioners noted there have been recent and escalating reports of wolf attacks on pets and livestock, particularly in northeastern Washington, where the bulk of the state’s estimated 100 gray wolves are located. Wolf numbers have grown rapidly in recent years as the animals migrate to Washington from other states.

The state last year had to wipe out a pack of wolves known as the Wedge Pack that was preying on cattle.

Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest said the environmental group did not oppose the emergency rule.

“Adoption of this rule is overall in the best interests of wolf recovery,” Friedman said.

The emergency rule covers only parts of the state, primarily northeastern Washington, where wolves are not protected by the federal endangered species act. However, federal officials have drafted rules to rescind endangered species protection from wolves across the Lower 48 states.

Under the emergency rule, the owner of domestic animals, or a family member or employee, may kill one gray wolf without a permit issued by the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Any wolf killed must be reported to the state within 24 hours, and the wolf carcass must be surrendered to the wildlife department. The owner of the domestic animals must allow the agency access to their property to investigate whether the killing was justified.

If the killing was not justified, the killer of the wolf may be prosecuted for unlawful taking of endangered wildlife, the rule said.

Conversely, the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife may authorize the killing of additional wolves if needed.

Commissioners were told the rule is needed because lambing and calving season has arrived, and livestock are moving into open range where more wolf attacks are anticipated. Warming weather also means more people and pets will be outdoors.

Other states have similar rules, and they typically result in only a handful of wolf deaths per year because it is difficult to catch wolves in the act of attacking livestock or pets, commissioners were told. In Idaho, for instance, only 50 wolves were killed between 2001 and 2010 under such circumstances, DFW Director Phil Anderson told commissioners.

“This rule will not inhibit or take away from the speed at which the wolf population will recover in the state of Washington,” Anderson said.

He noted the public will have ample opportunity to comment as the agency works to create a permanent rule that allows owners to kill wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock or pets.

Commissioner Chuck Perry of Moses Lake said he was a little concerned about the limit of killing one wolf, because they are pack animals.

But Anderson said a pack of wolves is likely to scatter quickly if one of their members is shot. “They don’t like guns or gunfire,” Anderson said.

Commissioner Larry Carpenter said the rule might actually prove beneficial to wolves, as being shot at might teach them not to target livestock or pets as food.

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(6) comments

RPT

I've started hitting the “Report Abuse” option on every irrelevant post Ms. Richard makes..If all of us do it the Missoulian will take action and remove her post. It’s gotten ridicules the disgusting use and abuse she's trying to get away with on this forum.
We’ve had hundreds of her post removed by reporting them as abuse... Plus we’ve forced her to clean up her act about 90% from what she used to be like. It makes her furious that we’re able to do this and there isn’t a thing she can do about it... Must really suck to be her.

Roger
Roger

It's very strange and unfair that anyone would be required to get a government permit to defend his livestock against wolves, or any other predator. It goes against the principles of a free country, and the government is way out of line to even consider such a tyrannical policy.

RPT

Ever heard of the S.S.S. rule ?... Apply it and move on... It works well in cases like this.
Just a matter of time now till the wolf is delisted nation wide anyway.. The Fed has already started the process.
Been a disgusting waste of resources and loss of wildlife.

Roger
Roger

Yes, of course I've heard about SSS, but if you get caught, the penalty is rather large. I agree with your opinion about wolf introduction.

reality22f
reality22f

RPT - thanks for your help with beligerent Ms Richards.....keep up the fight against the disgusting people that pimp this animal. Ulimately, we need to bring to light the abuse of the ESA which has allowed these people to abuse a law designed to protect endangered species.....which the gray wolf is not. The International environmental organization IUCN lists the wolf as a species of "Least Concern" . Clearly an abuse of the law!

richardr11

ur an anti-wildlife terrorist. the wolves will continue harvesting many elk, deer, and moose year round. sucks to nbe you

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