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Gov. Inslee: Veto This Mountain Lion Bill!

i Apr 28th by

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.