Gov. Inslee: Veto This Mountain Lion Bill!

Gov. Inslee: Veto This Mountain Lion Bill!

AThe Mountain Lion Foundation just posted this urgent alert:

HB 1516 has passed the Washington State Legislature and would require the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to select hound hunters to train their dogs by chasing cougars, bobcats, or bears. 

But there is still hope – Governor Jay Inslee [who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination on a climate platform] can veto HB 1516!

Cougars need your help now. The bill is on its way to the Governor’s desk. 

Please ask Governor Inslee to VETO HB 1516 by contacting him at his official message page or by phone at (360) 902-4111.  

Here’s why:

The people of Washington believe that individuals should take personal responsibility to coexist with cougars.

With 63% of voters approving Initiative 655 in 1996, the people of Washington prohibited hunting bear, cougar, bobcat, and lynx with dogs.  

WDFW’s own 2008 Cougar Attitude Survey showed overwhelming citizen support for these two statements:

  • “Livestock and pet owners who live in cougar habitat should be held responsible for taking steps to secure their animals” (93%); and
     
  • “Individuals living near cougars should be held responsible for taking steps to minimize the chance of human/cougar conflict” (90%).

Let’s not needlessly train a new generation of hound hunters!

Ask the Governor: Why now? In Initiative 655, the Fish and Wildlife Commission was authorized to allow the use of dogs to hunt or pursue black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx onlyif there was a public safety need; to protect livestock, domestic animals, and private property; for scientific purposes; or to protect endangered species.

We believe that no such new need has been established.

It has not been demonstrated scientifically that additional hounding of mountain lions will provide livestock producers with better protection for domestic animals, or people with greater safety. Washington’s relatively rare cougar conflicts are far better managed using less dangerous techniques.

This legislation is an excessive overstep. It is unreasonable to sanction harassment and possible death by hounds given all the threats cougars face with a human population that is growing exponentially, and alongside increasing competition with wolves to survive in less and less wild habitat.

Hounding is inhumane.

Hounds kill cougar kittens, and cougars often injure or kill hounds (Lindzey et al. 1992, Logan and Sweanor 2001, Elbroch et al. 2013).

Mountain lions are caused significant stress by hounding (Harlow et al. 1992, Bryce et al. 2017).

Hounds also chase, stress and change the behavior of other wildlife species including deer and other ungulates (Hristienko and McDonald 2007, Grignolio et al. 2011, Mori 2017), as well as putting pets and livestock at risk.

Please, take action immediately:

Ask Jay Inslee to VETO HB 1516 by contacting him at the Governor ‘s official message page or by phone at (360) 902-4111. 

Hounding is not necessary. It’s clearly against the will of Washington voters. Hounding causes stress, injury and death to both wild and domestic animals. There’s no upside to this bill.

Please be respectful and clear in all communications. Discourteous communications reflect poorly on advocates for wildlife and the conservation community.

There’s more YOU can do!

  • Forward this message to your friends and family in Washington State and ask them to contact Governor Inslee as well.
  • Help keep this issue in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper.

Let’s Get This Bill to Ban Live Animal Paramedic Training Out of Committee!

State Senate Bill 5211, which would ban the use of live animals given invasive medical procedures during paramedic trainings, made it through the state house but is stuck in Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane)’s Appropriations Committee.

Here’s his number: (360) 786-7946. If you know anyone in Spokane, encourage them to call too: That’s the area he represents.

It’s tight, but there’s still time for him to get this bill out of his committee and up for a vote.

Please call and leave a quick message today! Let’s get SB 5211 passed!!

Wolf Bill Still Alive in WA Senate: Now’s the Time to Call!

Amazingly, House Bill 2097 that threatens the endangered status of wolves in Washington state is still alive in the state Senate. It’s passed the full House and is now up for a second reading before the full Senate.

Even if you’ve already written, now is the time to call your state senator (type your address in here) and let him or her know that you oppose this bill. Leave a message tonight (Sunday) so they get it in the morning, or call first thing Monday before they vote.

While you’re on the phone, ask them to vote FOR HB 1026, which is also up for a Senate vote. It would prohibit a city or county from prohibiting the possession of a dog based upon its breed, imposing requirements specific to possession of a dog based upon its breed, or declaring a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous based upon its breed unless certain conditions are met.

Ask State Senators to Vote No THIS WEEK on Wolf Bill

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

A bill by Washington Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, that asks the state to revisit whether wolves are endangered in Washington has passed the state house and is moving through the Senate, on track to pass.

H.B. 2097 calls for the Department of Fish and Wildlife—which has overseen the killing of wolves on behalf of Washington ranchers whose cattle graze on state land—to determine whether wolves are no longer endangered either statewide or in parts of Washington.

It also calls for more resources to implement nonlethal deterrents to wolf-livestock management, which would be a relief given that a former Washington State University wolf expert said he thought such deterrents were not being implemented properly.

A better solution would be for ranchers to stop grazing their livestock on public land. Barring that, if they do raise their cattle on public land, they could accept the risk that a small percentage might be lost to wolves. The state’s ratio of cattle to wolves is about 1 million to 120, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Yet 20% of the wolves have been killed, most of them for a single rancher.

The center calls for wildlife officials to “follow the science by ramping up nonlethal measures, opening their decisions to scientific peer review and public comment and do more to protect our endangered wolves, which after all is the agency’s mission.”

H.B. 2097 gets it half right. Asking an agency that’s acted on behalf of ranchers to decide whether to delist the wolves as endangered is the other half, and the reason to kill the bill.

Please contact your Washington state legislators (find them here) and ask them not to pass this bill.