PAWS Magazine

Issue 39, Fall 1998

Pam Roach threatens to reintroduce hound-hunting of cougars

State senator Pam Roach plans to introduce legislation next year weakening the state law which bans the use of hounds in the sport hunting of cougars.

State Initiative 655, which passed in November 1996 with 63% of the vote, banned the unsporting practices of bear baiting and hound hunting of cougars, bears, and bobcats. The initiative did not ban regular hunting or prevent the state Department of Wildlife from utilizing hounds to hunt a nuisance cougar, bear, or bobcat. PAWS’ Director of Advocacy, Lisa Wathne, was one of two campaign coordinators for the Washington Wildlife Alliance, the political action committee that worked to pass the initiative.

Roach has indicated that she would like to reintroduce the use of hounds for sport hunting of cougars, citing an apparent increase in the number of cougars coming into contact with humans. "There has only been one full hunting season without the use of dogs," says Wathne. "There has simply not been enough time to determine whether the initiative has had any impact on the state’s cougar population.

"The biggest issue at hand with the recent cougar sightings is loss of habitat," says Wathne.

Wathne encourages those people opposed to Roach’s efforts to contact their state representatives and senator and register their opposition to any effort to weaken I-655.

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