The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

Sheriff to take strong wildlife measures

 

September 4, 2019



The Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in Klickitat County have received numerous complaints in regard to cougar sightings in Goldendale, White Salmon, Glenwood, Husum, and other neighborhoods throughout Klickitat County. In response, Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer has issued a statement about the sightings as a serious public safety concern.

“In addition to public safety, cougars and bears are a major concern and a problem for the farmers and ranchers in our county,” Songer said. “Livestock and domestic animals are being killed by cougar and bears in our county on a regular basis. As Sheriff, I have decided immediately to establish a program in accordance with Washington State Law (RCW 77.15.245(2a) that will allow better protection for the public safety and the protection of domestic animals and livestock within and throughout Klickitat County.”

Songer then cited the RCS, which states: “Nothing in the subsection shall be construed to prohibit the killing of black bear, cougar, bobcat, or lynx 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 issues and conditioned by the director.”

Sheriff’s Office deputies and volunteer sheriff’s posse/special deputies will provide the primary response to wildlife-human conflicts involving dangerous wildlife, Songer indicated. “The Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office will work closely with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife in carrying out this program,” he said. “However, the Sheriff Office will be in charge of the program. We will also be working in cooperation with the Goldendale and White Salmon police chiefs when they have cougar or bear sightings within their city jurisdictions.”

Sheriff deputies and posse members will respond to all reported dangerous wildlife conflicts that are seen as risks to human safety or domestic pets and livestock. A fully commissioned deputy will be in charge of the incident response and has the authority of the sheriff to invoke the appropriate action, under RCW 77.15.245 (2), by using hound dogs in tracking down and euthanizing the dangerous animal.

“We are requesting the citizens of Klickitat County to immediately call in sightings of cougar or bear to 911 Dispatch,” Songer said, “when the cougar or bear is a threat to public safety or domestic pets and livestock.”

 

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