By STEVE BROWN
OLYMPIA -- The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted an emergency rule Friday allowing the lethal removal of wolves without a permit in order to protect property, pets and livestock.
The provision, with affects only federally delisted portions of the state in northeast and north-central Washington, was spurred by a letter signed by 10 state legislators.
"I am encouraged by the commission's commitment to address the critical issues that affect Washington residents as wolves continue to multiply at a rapid pace," said Sen. John Smith, R-Colville. "This has truly been a team effort by Reps. (Shelly) Short and (Joel) Kretz, district county commissioners and the thousands of residents who told their stories and voiced their opinions."
"This came down to a matter of preserving the health, safety and welfare of our residents," said Kretz, R-Wauconda. "I don't anticipate this change will have a negative effect on the recovery of wolves, but it was absolutely necessary, especially as grazing season begins and because we know that nonlethal methods do not always work."
Under provisions of the emergency rule:
* Any wolf kill must be reported to the state Fish and Wildlife Department within 24 hours;
* The wolf carcass must be surrendered to the department; and
* The owner must grant or assist the department in gaining access to the property for the purpose of investigating the incident.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission has the authority, granted by the Legislature, to adopt emergency rules when necessary to preserve public health, safety and general welfare.