Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Roger Harnack
Davenport Times 

Cougar tracking dogs


November 12, 2020

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

A cougar in a tree.

OLYMPIA - The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public input on new rules that would allow handlers and their dogs to train for cougar tracking.

The agency hires contract dog handlers to help track cougars involved in attacks on livestock and pets, or when cougars threaten the public. But under previous state laws, trackers were not allowed to train specifically for cougars.

The Legislature changed that law in 2018.

"We're seeking the public's feedback on this rule-making to ensure we can continue to meet the public safety needs of communities, while also outlining practices that protect and conserve wildlife," agency police Chief Steve Bear said.

Once a new rule is approved, agency staff will administer a new training program, officials said, noting a "limited number" of handlers would be approved to participate.

Prospective handlers would have to pass background checks and meet agency requirements, officials said.

Comment on proposed new rules are due Dec. 7; mail them to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Attn: Becky Bennett, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.

"Properly trained scent dogs are an essential tool for public safety and our work," Bear said. " When time counts, nothing is more effective and efficient in locating a specific animal in the wild than these dogs and their handlers."

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 5092356184
Twitter: @RogerHarnack


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