A public hearing Wednesday on a bill to allow people the right to protect livestock and pets from wolf attacks included the story of a very close wolf encounter near the town of Twisp.
Senate Bill 5187 would let owners of livestock or pets kill a wolf without a permit if the predator is in the act of attacking or posing an immediate threat to their animals.
Among those who testified at a House Agriculture and Natural resources committee hearing was John Stevie who lives on 40 acres near Twisp.
Earlier this month, Stevie was awakened by a loud noise on his front porch. It was the sound of his Siberian Husky, Shelby, being attacked by a wolf:
Stevie: “I pulled the doors open, and about two feet in front of me when I stepped out on the deck, this wolf he was a hundred pounds plus, it had her by the head on the porch, and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was and it looked up at me, and it still had her head in its mouth looking at me”
Stevie's larger male Husky then came out from inside the home and after a brief tussle managed to run the wolf off.
The Okanagan county resident says in the past, his two dogs were good deterrent for keeping cougars and bears off his property. He says he has always relied on them to protect his 12-year-old son, but this incident has made him wonder how safe he is now.
“I mean what’s it going to take here? I will protect my son," Stevie said. "I’m not going to let this happen again. I will deal with the consequences when it happens, because now, my dogs can’t even protect my son.”
Currently, killing a wolf without the required permit is considered a gross misdemeanor, and penalty for a second offense is up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine.
The bill has already passed in the Washington Senate.
Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio