Wolf attack gains attention in Legislature
By MITCH LIES
SALEM -- It didn't take long for wolves to come up in the Oregon Legislature.
On the first full day of legislative activity, Feb. 4, Rep. Bob Jenson, R-Pendleton, alerted House members that a gray wolf had killed a pregnant cow in Wallowa County the week before.
Jenson prefaced his remonstrance, a political procedure that allows lawmakers to express opinions on the floor of the House and Senate, by saying that House members may have heard of the attack from reports in newspapers.
"If you haven't," he said, "don't worry about it. I'll keep you informed and let you know every time it happens."
He added: "One of the things that I wish you all had the opportunity to see is the absolute horrid brutality of one of these kills."
Jenson sponsored a bill last session that would have allowed the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill two problem wolves from the Imnaha pack, the pack responsible for the Jan. 28 predation. The bill failed to pass the House.
Jenson's bill was in response to an injunction the Oregon Court of Appeals placed on a department-issued kill order for the two wolves.
The department issued the order in late summer 2011 after confirming the wolves were responsible for several livestock deaths in Northeastern Oregon.
The court issued the stay under petition from environmental groups until it can determine whether the order is consistent with the Oregon Endangered Species Act. The kill order was issued under the auspices of the state's wolf conservation and management plan.
The state presented oral arguments to the court in January of this year, according to the department.
The state also has been involved in talks with the environmental groups, but no settlement plans are in place, the department said.
In the most recent livestock kill, state biologist said tracking from a Global Positioning System collar put the Imnaha pack at the scene of the depredation, a private ranch in Wallowa County.
"A clear struggle scene was observed in the snow, which showed multiple wolf tracks and large amounts of blood scattered over a large area of the carcass," ODFW reported.
A second pregnant cow was attacked but survived, ODFW reported.