SEATTLE (AP) — Wolf advocates seeking to halt the Washington Department Fish and Wildlife from shooting wolves to protect livestock have suffered another legal setback.
The Capital Press reports King County Superior Court Judge John McHale on Friday dismissed claims that Fish and Wildlife’s lethal-control policy violates the State Environmental Policy Act.
McHale’s ruling mirrored one in November by a Thurston County judge presiding over a similar lawsuit in Washington state.
Fish and Wildlife wolf policy lead Donny Martorello said the department prefers to develop wolf policy outside courtrooms and that this decision lets them continue to do that.
Jonathon Bashford, an attorney for the wolf advocates who brought the lawsuit, said they are reviewing the ruling and exploring their options.
Wolf advocates and environmental groups alleged that Fish and Wildlife should have subjected its lethal-control policy on wolves to a formal environmental review, a process that can take two or more years.
While that claim has been dismissed, the lawsuits remain alive. Each also alleges the department has acted arbitrarily in killing wolves.
The King County lawsuit targets the department’s removal last summer of the OPT pack in the Kettle River Range in northeast Washington.