Sunday, April 22, 2007

Oregon bill OKs use of dogs in cougar, bear kills

Measure to enable ODFW method goes to the House

HENRY MILLER
Statesman Journal

April 20, 2007

On a 4-2 vote Thursday, a bill that would allow the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to appoint agents to pursue and kill cougars and bears using dogs is headed to the floor of the Oregon House with a recommendation for passage.

Reps. Jackie Dingfelder, D-Portland, and Greg Macperson, D-Lake Oswego, were the lone dissenters among the six members of the seven-member House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources present.

Both said they wanted an alternative set of amendments that would have constrained situations in which agents could be used to document cases of cougar damage or threats.

Instead, House Bill 2971 was moved with a different set of amendments that defined the conditions and constraints, including certification and monitoring, under which agents could operate.

Brian Clem, D-Salem, said what opponents wanted was to debate the department's cougar- and bear-management plans.

Those plans are in place, he said, so the real issue is where the money comes from getting the provisions of the plan in action.

"It seems to me when I hear from my constituents on both sides of the issue ... it always still seems to be about the cougar management plan, which was set up through another process," he said. "It's not something we're reviewing in this bill."

Clem said he's heard impassioned arguments from both sides of the debate.

"I just can't -- regardless of how upset some of my folks are -- I just can't see why we should have to pay somebody to go and harvest a cougar that's going to be harvested anyway, when someone else will do it for free," Clem said. "I just can't get past that."

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ article?AID=/20070420/LEGISLATURE/704200328/1042

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