Three months after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife eliminated a pack of wolves that had been killing livestock in Stevens County, legislators filed three bills allowing farmers to protect their livestock from the predators.
Livestock owners have been concerned about wolves since they began returning to the state from neighboring states in the mid-2000s. They hadn’t been present in the state since hunters eliminated them in the 1930s.
Sen. John Smith, R-Colville, filed two of the bills: Senate Bill 5187 and Senate Bill 5188. Under SB 5187, livestock owners, their immediate family and their employees could kill any “mammalian predator” without permission if their livestock is attacked.
SB 5188 would allow county authorities to kill wolves that pose an imminent threat to livestock – if members of a wolf pack have killed or injured livestock at least twice or if the pattern of incidents presents a threat to the economic viability of a livestock operation.
Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, filed House Bill 1337 to change the classification of grey wolves under state law. The wolves are currently listed as endangered in Washington under state law and for the western two-thirds of the state under federal law. The bill would change the state law to match the federal law.