On February 23, 2022, Senate Bill 5613, intended to prevent Sheriffs from using dogs to track dangerous predators such as cougars, bears and bobcats that presents a threat to public safety, domestic animals, livestock and property, died in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
The current Washington State Law 77,15.245(2a) states the following:
“Nothing in the subsection shall be construed to prohibit the hunting of black bear, cougar, or bobcat with the aid of a dog or dogs by employees or agents of county, state, or federal agencies while acting in their official capacities for the purpose of protecting livestock, domestic animals, private property or the public safety. A dog or dogs may be used by the owner or tenant of real property consistent with a permit issued and conditioned by the director.”
If SB 5613 would have passed, the repercussion would have removed the Sheriff’s authority and ability away from using dogs to track dangerous wildlife, unless the Sheriff first received permission from the Washington State Wildlife Department to use the dogs. If the Sheriff was unable to make contact with the Wildlife Department and receive permission to use dogs to track down a dangerous predator, then the Sheriff would not be able to perform his/her duties in protecting the public, livestock or domestic animals.
As your elected Sheriff and the top law enforcement official of the County, I strongly OPPOSED Senate Bill 5613, which I called the “Mother, May I” amendment. As your Sheriff I do not believe that I need to get permission from the Wildlife Department to use dogs to go after dangerous predators that are threatening public safety, livestock or domestic animals.
I want to personally thank all the people that opposed SB 5613.