The Washington state Senate passed a measure Friday to allow livestock and pet owners to shoot gray wolves without a permit when the wolves are attacking or threatening their animals.

The bill is the latest salvo in an ongoing debate over how to cope with the reintroduction —and subsequent population rise — of the predatory canines in northeastern Washington state.

"We have the right to protect our families and our properties and our livelihoods," said Sen. John Smith, R-Colville, the bill's sponsor. "It's a fundamental principle of the American system."

Bill opponents say it would hurt the state's wolf recovery efforts and contradicts years of effort put into hashing out a state wolf plan.

"This bill undermines a three-year intensive public process that the ranchers agreed to, as did the environmentalists," said Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island.

Asked whether the bill would invite an open season on wolves, Ranker said that "it would create a slippery slope. It's absolutely a step in that direction."

At present, citizens can get a caught-in-the-act permit to kill wolves, but only after the state confirms that wolves have killed or injured their livestock and that nonlethal means of stopping the wolf attacks have been exhausted.

Two such permits were issued last year, though neither was used, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The wolf debate is relatively new to Washington state.

Five years ago, there were only a handful of wolves in the state. By contrast, there are now between eight and 12 wolf packs, with as many as 100 wolves in total. All are well to the east of the Cascade mountains, and many of those living in their midst say they are bearing the burden of the state's wolf recovery efforts.

Smith's bill passed by a vote of 25-23 with mostly Republican support, and with Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom not voting. It heads next to the Democratic-controlled House.

Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, said he supports the bill and will give it a hearing but acknowledges that it faces steep odds of passing out of the Legislature.

Blake lamented the killing last year by the state of a wolf pack that had repeatedly attacked livestock in Stevens County, saying he fears that as the wolves multiply, inaction by lawmakers will lead to more conflict.

"It's a powder keg over there and I'm worried about what's going to happen this spring," Blake said.

Responses to "Washington state Senate OKs killing gray wolves to protect pets, livestock"

  1. Anonymous says:

    what a bunch of crap! wolves killing livestock and pets...people are not going to abide by the regulation that "nonlethal means have been used"'s just going to be open's amazing to me that the worst animal on earth, the one that kills for the sake of killing is supposed to be the intelligent one...we'll keep going until there are no animals left in the wild...

  2. Anonymous says:

    Agree's with the Above,, Wolves are natural to this/most Area, Cattle were/are not.. People need to respect and learn to live with everything that was given by the Creator... Build a bigger fence.. in this case the Livestock are the Immigrants..

  3. Anonymous says:

    When you kill the wolves, you will have no predators, next you will say we need to cull other animals, as there are no predators to kill them, Man is the bigger killer. Save your wolf for here in Briton we have none...

  4. Unknown says:

    To the Briton ask the ranchers in Washington I am sure they would send you some.They eat sheep too :0)

  5. well its either cattle or wolves ..which would you rather eat? As for there being no other predators that will never happen ..we also have cougars,bear,lynx,bobcat, cant get rid of all of them ...the ones that get killed are the ones coming into contact with humans..the wolves are far from extinct..most of these were transplanted from up north where there are 10s of thousands and where they dont have to worry as much about coming into contact with humans...which usually results in their demise because people dont want to pay $1000 for a calf and feed it to wolves or $2000 for a horse to just watch wolves eat that too...its easy to speak against it when you dont live here and have to find new pets because predators came to your house and ate the last one..we have had children attacked also..where would you suggest we draw the line?

  6. Anonymous says:

    So sad, not the answer. People who hunt enjoy just gave them open season....people suck sometimes.... :-(

  7. Anonymous says:

    This saddens me to no end...
    How many occurrences have happened in the past 6 months?
    And how many of these 'ranch owners' are going to actually, honestly, exhaust all other efforts before killing?
    IF they are truly a problem in that area, we could start be trapping and relocating to another state that the wolves could adapt to. Instead of just going ahead and killing.

    Extinction is forever.. it is not a solution jackasses.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I begin to detest ranchers and cattlemen. In just this way animals become extinct, animals that belong to the natural world and to all of us. These men are the descendants of the men who rode trains across the country slaughtering buffalo by the thousands. Nothing matters to them but their own greed. They are disgusting and shame on the politicians who are bought off enough to support this foul and unfair law.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I cry every time i see this! Extinction will happen! Does anyone remember the food change anymore?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I do not agree. It's NOT their fault at all. Humans cannot kill them for humans' convenience...

  11. Unknown says:

    another bullshit way for scum bags to kill wolves, our politicians are as bad as the scumbag hunter/trappers. vote them out when their terms are up.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There are other ways that don't involve killing wolves. Did I read correctly there are only 100 anyway? To me that's an endangered species. Think of it as theft in the retail market. You budget for a certain amount of loss. Plus there are human methods for controlling peditors. Is Washington going to join Oregon in the top five deadliest states for wildlife?

    We don't own this world, we share it. People need to quit thinking they have the right to kill.

  13. wolfsynn says:

    K.Crockett "We have the right to protect our families and our properties and our livelihoods," said Sen. John Smith, R-Colville, the bill's sponsor. "It's a fundamental principle of the American system."
    - Does this asinine, mentally deficient clown actually believe his own BS ?! (rhetorical) There has NEVER been a documented, provable case of a wolf attack on a human. This statement is provable in U.S. records. About time people stopped buying into the crap spewed by these idiots in the Senate who don't have a clue about the topic they are pretending to be knowledgeable about. Ignorance reigns supreme as usual in the minds of self-important politicians. Or jackasses, same thing.

  14. wolfsynn says:

    To greatwhyte : Where do you get your information ?? Your numbers on the wolves are completely inaccurate. If you don't know what you are talking about, try not to. As well, children attacked ?? Really ?! So, all these attacks were by what, a lame old tired wolf that the kids were able to fight off ? In the U.S. record, as far back as is traceable, there Has NEVER been a human attack by a wolf. Get it right before telling tales. Any incidents with a human, 3 adults, were a rabid animal, and hybrids, bred by You to hunt wolves.As for your $ comment, there is compensation paid for lost livestock. How good are the defense systems where these animals are killed, or are they off on there own and just expected to be safe ?? Nevermind, I know I am just confusing you with facts and common sense. Go get your guns and blast away. I won't even start on the idiocy of the other predators that "can't all be killed."

  15. Anonymous says:

    The wolf is an intelligent, pack animal, and has a family heirarchy like humans do. They are beautiful and only kill to eat when hungry. They help keep down the disabled animals that would breed weaker aninmals. They are useful and a part of Nature's plan. Killing them indiscriminately is wrong and cruel, and heartless. This will upset the balance of nature once more, and we will again be faced with wolves on the edge of extinction.

  16. Anonymous says:

    We may have the right to protect our families and properties, etc but we do have the right to protect what was here before us and will be here after we are gone... God did not make wolves to be killed and disappear .. he made them to help us and protect us ... There may be other predators out there but the wolves are needed as well. They have proven that the wolves can interact with humans .....

  17. Wolves are living, breathing,loving, creatures that feel just as much as any human does. Humans can protect their families, yet animals are not allowed those same rights. Humans encroach on the habitats of wild beings, and call that area his or her own. Would anyone of us do less than fight for our family's home and safety? I think not. Animals are not inanimate objects to be destroyed at the whim of humans. Each creature on this planet must learn to coexist, not destroy those whom get in the way.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why not track, capture and neuter and then return the females back to the pack?
    Better than giving hunters a reason to kill.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wolves were not introduced into Washington, they were allowed to migrate from Canada and some from Idaho. To say a wild predator will not attack humans is a nebulous statement. They should be managed the same as any other species and if I see they day that they attack my dogs ( I think more of them than most people I know) they will get shot, very quickly.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Shame on you Government...I will and want never under stand it.....This is not ok....and acceptable.

  21. Anonymous says:

    We keep taking over their homes and then we kill them because they are an inconvenience. We are a stupid society. Where do we think that we have the right to kill the other species that inhabit this earth with us????????????

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. Stop killing!!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    What is wrong with these red-necked subhumans!!!!!!!
    Where can I protest this?????

  25. Unknown says:

    i hope the monsters that kill these animals die and i hope their families do too!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Wow. It's hard to believe humans even deserve the right to exist based on a majority of these comments. Lets not assume that just because the government gives people the right to defend their property (I would assume that most of you think pets are like family anyway), that it is going to become some sort of twisted free-for-all like you are imagining. People are fighting for the RIGHT to not be imprisoned or persecuted for making a life or death decision. If a wolf is in the backyard chewing on a dog, like it has been reported before, what idiot thinks it won't get to the owner next? Sure these ocurrances are rare, but mostly because wolves haven't been in the area for nearly a century. We have just as much right to exist as these creatures do and there are boundaries that have to be respected. I think it is wrong of us to shoot a grizzly after he mauls an idiot hiker trying to get a close up, but that's exactly what the F&W Dept does every time it happens. We cross their boundaries, that should be our risk and the same should be reciprocated for them. With regards to protecting livestock, I love how the experts who've never relied on raising animals or crops as a sole source of income come out of the woodworks to heckle the farmers. As is the farmers aren't providing these people with food or are somehow less human for doing so. And while we are asking the evil farmers to exhaust non-lethal ways of preventing wolf attacks, I wonder if perhaps we could ask the wolves to exhaust non-lethal ways of eating the cows? Yeah, that's a great idea. We should definitely do that.

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