Judge dismisses claims against WDFW

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A King County Superior Court judge today (July 23, 2020) found in favor of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in a case that challenged the 2019 lethal removal of members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf pack.

Judge John McHale listened to extensive arguments from both sides on June 22, 2020 on the merits of the petition and today announced that the court found in favor of WDFW on all claims.

“The Department thanks Judge McHale for his time and close scrutiny in this case,” said Donny Martorello, the Department’s Wolf Policy Lead. “We know this was a complex situation and not a simple decision to make, and we respect the time he took to study the materials. We understand this is not the outcome that the petitioners, and likely other individuals, were hoping for. The Department remains committed to working with a diversity of Washington citizens on ways to address wolf-livestock conflict and ultimately reduce the loss of wolves and livestock.”

The court denied the petitioners’ request for declaratory and injunctive relief by affirming the July 31, 2019 lethal removal authorization of Director Susewind under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and also rejected Petitioners’ State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) arguments.

WDFW supports Judge McHale’s note in his finding that "It is the Court’s hope that all impacted by wolf-livestock interactions will listen to each other and work with open minds in addressing concerns about lethal removal of wolves."

The judge’s decision can be found on the WDFW website here (PDF). WDFW previously published updates on this case on Jan. 10 and Feb. 20.