600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
August 17, 2005
Contact: Larry Peck (360) 902-2650
or Penny Cusick, (360) 902-2280
WDFW investigating officers’ response
OLYMPIA—The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has begun an investigation into the circumstances surrounding two Fish and Wildlife officers’ Aug. 12 response to a citizen complaint of a wild mallard duck being held in captivity.
“We began our review as soon as we were made aware of the incident and we have placed the officers involved on office assignment until our review and any outside police investigation is complete,” said Jeff Koenings, WDFW director.
Koenings said WDFW will be conducting an administrative review into the circumstances that prompted the officers to be dispatched on the case, as well as their actions on the scene.
“If our review indicates that disciplinary measures are warranted, we will take those steps,” Koenings said.
State law prohibits private citizens from possessing or holding living wild animals in captivity without appropriate permits.
“While the Department has the authority to remove a wild animal being held in captivity, we recognize there are many other high priorities facing our enforcement officers, including the need to respond to dangerous wildlife complaints, enforce state fishing and hunting laws and protect endangered species,” Koenings said. “In light of those demands, we will be reviewing the response to this captive-wildlife complaint.”
An Auburn woman filed a report with the Auburn Police Department alleging that two Fish and Wildlife Officers contacted her Aug. 12 at her workplace, pushed her and grabbed a captive mallard duck from her arms.
Koenings noted that WDFW is cooperating with the Auburn Police Department’s investigation into the incident.
“We take allegations like these very seriously,” Koenings added.
The captive duck has been taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation shelter for eventual re-release back into the wild, if appropriate.